Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a toilet on the boat?

Our trip boat known as Spirit has a disabled toilet on the boat.

Can we bring wheelchairs?

Yes, our trip boat Spirit is an inclusive boat with a disabled lift the maximum weight on the lift is 250kg.

What is the maximum weight you can accommodate on the lift?

250kg is the maximum weight that the lift can take

How many wheelchairs can you accommodate?

Our trip boat Spirt can take up to 3 wheelchairs.

What time should we arrive for our boat trip?

If some of your party need to access the boat using our lift at the back of the boat for those with mobility issues we recommend arriving between 20 and 30 minutes before the trip.

If none of your party will need access to the lift then 10 minutes before your trip is the recommended arrival time.

You indicated that the price was £40 per hour, but when I go on the boat booking it shows £55 as the cost?

The cost for boat trips is £55 for 1 hour trips, all trips that are above 1 hour are charged at £40 per hour – including the first hour.

How do you manage to keep you price per hour so low?

We always wanted our trip boat to be accessible to people and so we train volunteer skippers and crew to manage our boat trips, very rarely do we need to use paid staff to crew/skipper our trips.

I’m interested in becoming a boat volunteer how do I go about it and what is involved?

We run National Community Boat Association accredited boat training.  We run three courses, the first is the CCC (Competent Crew Course) also known as crew level, the second is BHC (boat handling course) and the final one is the CCBM (Community Course in Boat Management) also known as skipper level.  We run these courses throughout the year usually over 6 weeks on 1 weekday per week, the courses run from 10am – 3pm and the training takes place on our older boat Narroway which is a traditional narrowboat.  At the end of the 6 weeks hopefully if you have managed to achieve all the requirements for the course you will pass your community crew course and can apply to become a volunteer.  To become a volunteer we need the completion of a volunteer application form, the completion of 5 mandatory online training courses (we can provide space in centre to complete if you don’t have access to a computer and/or the internet) and the receipt of an Enhanced DBS.  If you are interested in learning more please contact centre on 01709 578778.

Are there tea and coffee making facilities?

Yes our trip boat Spirit has tea and coffee making facilities, you are welcome to make drinks on the boat, we provide tea, coffee and milk (this can occasionally be long life).  If you wish to make a donation towards this this would be much appreciated, you are also welcome to bring your own refreshments.

Can we bring our own food and drink?

Yes, you are welcome to bring your own food onto the boat, there is a small fridge that you can use during the trip.  There is a small bin on the boat that you can utilise for any waste, however if the waste is excessive we ask if you can take this away with you after the trip.

How many people can come on the boat trip?

We are licensed to carry up to 12 passengers on the boat, for reference this includes children and babies (a question we get frequently asked).

Does a baby in arms count as one of the 12 passengers?

Yes as part of our insurance we are licensed to carry no more than 12 passengers this incudes babies in arms.

Do you have a guide so we know where we will be going depending on the time length of the booking?

Given our position on the canal you can go in the direction of Rotherham or Doncaster.  If you head towards Doncaster

  • 1 hour trip – Mexborough Old Co-op Bakery and return
  • 5 hour trip – Through Mexborough top Lock and return
  • 2 hour trip – Mexborough Pastures Hotel and return
  • 3 hour trip – Conisbrough Old Lock and return
  • 4 hour trip – Rainbow Bridge/Cadeby Quarry and return
  • 5 hour trip – Sprotbrough and return
  • 6 hour trip – Sprotbrough with a stop off and return

If you head towards Rotherham

  • 1 hour – Kilnhurst and return
  • 5 hours – just before Kilnhurst lock and return
  • 2 hour trip - Winding hole on the River Don and return
  • 3 hour – Thrybergh Bar Mill Wharf and return
  • 4 hour – Asda Mushroom roundabout and return
  • 5 hours – Caffe Cristinacce at Parkgate and return
  • 6 hours – Rotherham Lock and return

Can we have birthday parties on the boat?

You are welcome to celebrate occasion on our boat and can place banners provided blue tack is used, this would need to be done at the beginning of your trip, it isn’t viable to decorate the boat prior to the trip.

Is there heating on the boat if it’s cold?

Our trip boat Spirit is centrally heated inside the cabin for trips during the cooler/colder months.

What wildlife is there on the canal?

There is a wealth of wildlife out on the waterways system, these include swans, herons, cormorants and ducks as well as a plethora of other birds, you may if you are very lucky see a kingfisher always a highlight of a trip and we have had crew see two otters in the last 12 months when they’ve been out on a trip, so keep your eyes open.

Can we use the boat for meetings/ team building combined with lunch and a trip?

Absolutely, our boat is an ideal place to hold business meetings and team building.

Can we drink alcohol?

You are permitted to bring alcohol on the boat, however, one person will need to accept responsibility for all social behaviour of passengers.  In the event of any unacceptable social behaviour the crew have the right to return the boat to Swinton Lock Activity Centre and request that the whole party disembark from the boat and the trip will be ended, no refunds will be due in these circumstances.

Can we smoke on the boat?

Smoking is prohibited on the boat.

This is title

Event Note

Can we vape on the boat?

Vaping is at the discretion of the skipper. 

Do we have to wear life jacket/buoyancy aid?

It is our company policy that all children and young people aged 16 years and under are required to wear a buoyancy aid when they are in the outdoor space on the boat.  If a young person refuses to wear a buoyancy aid during the trip for the outdoor space we will require a responsible adult to sign a disclaimer confirming that they will remain wholly responsible for the safety of the child/young person.

Can I wear a buoyancy aid even if I’m older than 16?

We have a supply of buoyancy aids available, if you would like to wear one during your trip then you are welcome to do so, our crew will inform you where these are situated on the boat.

Can you take dogs on the boat?

We only permit assistance dogs on the boat, they need to remain on a lead once onboard.  The dog will remain solely the responsibility of the owner.  Please be aware that we do not have buoyancy aids suitable for a dog.

What rights do we have if we have to cancel the boat trip?

Once your booking has been confirmed there is no right to cancellation, however if we have to cancel the trip a full refund will be provided to the customer and the customer will receive as compensation a free 1 hour trip for up to 12 people.   Full terms and conditions form part of the booking process when you book a trip via our website.

You indicated that the trip was for up to 12 people, how much is it for just 2 of us?

Our boat hire is for private hire use which means that only you and your family/friends/group will have access to the boat during the trip (with the exception of the crew and skipper that we provide).  We are looking at the possibility of community days where you could pay on a per person basis and share the boat with people you don’t know, if this comes to fruition we will notify people through our Facebook page.

Who will manage the boat during my trip?

When you book a boat trip you are booking not only for private use of the space for up to 12 people but it comes fully crewed with a skipper and depending on the length of trip either up to 3 crew members who do not count towards the 12 people.

What other activities does Swinton Lock Activity Centre do?

Swinton Lock Activity Centre delivers a multitude of projects some of which are grant funded.  If we have any upcoming events or programmes of work that we want to let people know about we will share them on our Facebook page, which is the quickest and easiest way to keep up to date.  For general information about our range of activities these are detailed on our website under ‘What We Do’.

Can we book a boat trip direct with you rather than booking through your website?

No, our only method of booking boat trips now is through our website.  We’ve changed our booking method to make it easier for people to book a trip but also to automate many of the processes that would previously have been done by staff in centre to save time.

Can we stop off for a meal on our boat trip?

If you want to stop at the Pastures for a meal, you will need to book a minimum of a 3.5 hour trip as the travel time to Pastures Lodge and back is 2 hours plus 1.5 hours minimum for the meal times. A bit of a walk is also required because there is no safe access on the bank outside.

Still have questions?