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Frequently Asked Questions

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No driving licence needed ?
Correct, a driving licence is not required. In France, the legislation does not require you to have a permit for boats less or equal to 15 metres in length and whose speed does not exceed 12km/h.
All the Nicols boats respect these two criteria: they are equipped with governed engines, that do not interfere with the navigation, knowing that the maximum authorized speed on canals is 6 to 8 km/h; (be careful: if you rent a boat of 13 metres, plus a pool, the overall length will exceed 15 metres, in which case you will require a Pleasure Boat Licence).

How to pilot…for a first time?
Our canal boats are duly equipped and certified for boating, and no particular competence is necessary to pilot.
On your arrival at the base, a technical member will come on board to explain to you the workings of all the equipment and will give you instruction in piloting. If it’s possible, he will take you through the first lock.

Piloting, it’s child’s play!
A contact key, forward gear and reverse gear (to slow and to stop), a little patience and passing gently through the first locks…and all clients can be a captain in a very short time!

Navigate with children… in safety?
All our canal boats are equipped with forward and aft pulpits, guard rails and handrail (unlike anything else in the market).
If you’re going on holidays with your children, we recommend you our “Sedan Range” or “Estivale Range”, (both have a large aft terrace which is on the same deck level as the lounge area),for several reasons:

  • No stairs for little children.
  • The aft terrace is protected by a balcony in polyester, approximately 1 meter high.
  • From the lounge area or from the inside steering position, you will have a view of the back terrace (Rear sliding picture window) and you can watch over the children playing on the terrace, at the garden table.

Nevertheless, we advise you to make them wear a life-jacket at all times. Life jackets (0 to 30 kilos) are provided at the bases and are compulsory for children. For little children, it may be best to take their own armbands which are easier to use during the summer season.

Passing through the locks?
Passing through a lock is a very simple and pleasant manoeuvre. There is nothing to pay for passing through a lock. For full details, please consult our Internet website under the heading “General Information”.

What happens if we break down?
NICOLS is at your service 7 days a week (whenever the base is open). Telephone your base immediately explaining your problem, and give your exact position: a technician will come as soon as possible.

Can we ride on bicycles?
Of course! The waterways are often flanked by towpaths that are very suitable for cycle rides. You will be glad to have them for shopping trips or little outings. For full details, please consult our Internet website under the heading “General Information”.

Can we go for a swim?
Yes, on your journey, you will come across favourable and accessible places for swimming. So do not forget your bathing clothes!
Exclusive to NICOLS! Add the finishing touch with our towed heated pool (Do not hesitate to contact us for further details).

River tourism, it’s better when the weather is nice!
In case of a renting apartment or villa, a rainy day is often very boring! All you can do is play cards or board games and wait that the weather to be better…!
On the contrary, on board your boat, you can:

  • Continue to navigate, even if it’s raining. You can go on your cruise without reducing what you have planned for your holidays.
  • Our canal boats (except the Riviera Range) offer a super saloon with its panoramic views, at 360 degrees- ideal to enjoy the landscapes even if the weather is bad.

Return cruise : I get bored !
Many clients think that a return cruise is boring and prefer to choose a single trip.
But in reality, remember that if you want to book a single trip, you should consider several points:

  • You have to make the distance between the 2 bases in the time required: no so much time to stroll during the cruise!
  • The cost is higher: cost for one-way cruise 110 € (management and following of your single trip in our schedule) + transfer of vehicle or persons, if you have requested this option as well (approximately 170 €).
  • It is required to call a week before the date of departure for confirmation of the one-way and the direction of navigation.

On the contrary, the return cruise offers many advantages:

  • You can stop wherever you want! If you find the “paradise” and if you want to moor several days, no problem: you just need to take back the boat in time at the base of departure.
  • The return way-cruise : no extra cost
  • Do not forget that you will view the countryside from a different perspective going the other way.

River tourism, it’s expensive!
River tourism is all inclusive!
Except for the consumable (oils, diesel oil, gas…) that you have to pay at the end of the cruise (between 20 and 40 € per day), boating holidays are all inclusive, without “incidental expenses”.

  • You can eat on board, or have a picnic
  • The main activities are free: 4 to 5 hours of navigation per day, going for a walk, cycling on the towpaths, fishing, swimming, exploring the villages you pass visit… contrary to “holiday clubs” where most of the activities are charged.
  • Unlike winter holidays, there are no renting or extra costs (ski lift): passing through a lock is free, you can stop wherever you want (free) or in a harbour of your choice (low cost).
  • Unlike sun destinations, the prices are quoted for the boat-simply divide the total cost by the number of people on board and judge for yourself what good value it is.

Will I need special insurance?
Hire charges cover insurance of the boat and the responsibility of Hirer towards third parties. The day of departure, you will give a deposit (Please consult our Internet website under heading Price). This sum will be repaid to you at the end of your cruise if the boat and its equipment are brought back in good condition and undamaged, at the time and place agreed.

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