Norfolk Broads Boat Hire – Frequently Asked Questions

We thought it would be useful to put together some of our most frequently asked questions for those of you considering your first boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads!

Boat hire on the Norfolk Broads - A Luxury Broads Cruiser passing Thurne

ooo 1. Do I need previous boat hire experience?  

No previous boating experience is necessary as full training will be given on arrival.

2. How many people do the boats sleep? 

 Our cruisers sleep between 2 and 12 people. If you are a larger group of more than 12, you will need to hire two boats (there are no boats for self-drive hire permitted on any of the UK waterways).

3. Can I take my pet?

Yes- pets are welcome on the majority of our cruisers. Usually a maximum of 2 pets are allowed on board.  If you have more than 2 pets coming with you, please check with us as we may still be able to help. Some of our boats are kept pet-free for people will allergies etc.

4. Is a Norfolk Broads boating holiday suitable for young families?

Yes! There is plenty to keep young children occupied on a boating holiday. Children of all ages love the Norfolk Broads. Being outside in the fresh air, watching all of the other boats go by, keeping an eye out for birds and animals along the banks is usually entertainment enough! There are many family friendly attractions to visit on the Norfolk Broads including Bewilderwood, Wroxham Barns, Wroxham Miniature Worlds, Bure Valley Railway and Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens. 

5. How far can I travel?

This does depend on how many cruising hours a day you would like to do. If you are on a short break, starting on the Northern Broads then generally we recommend sticking to the Northern side and exploring all of the Broads and villages there. Same on the Southern Broads, if you start there it is best to stay south on a short break, you could still reach the City of Norwich easily. On a weekly holiday both sides of the Broads can be explored if willing to cruise for longer hours and spend less time off the boat. It is always best to check cruising times between each place and if travelling from North – South or vice versa, check the crossing times for Breydon Water. Check out our boating holiday routes guide here

6. Can I fish on the Norfolk Broads?

Yes you can – as long as it is not closed season. Closed season is between March 15th and June 16th each year. During open season you will need to purchase a licence from the local Post Office. No live maggots are allowed onboard and you must only fish whilst the boat is stationary.

7. Can I go on my own?

Yes, solo experienced boaters are accepted at a couple of our boatyards. At our other boatyards they will only accept a minimum of 2 adults due to their insurance requirements.

8. What is the speed limit?

The speed limits vary between 3-6mph on the Norfolk Broads. There are very clear round signs that will tell you the speed limit for each area.

9. Where do I moor?

The Broads Authority provides free 24 hour moorings at a number of locations on the Norfolk Broads, see the list here: You are also able to moor at any British Hire Boat Federation Boat Yard. Other moorings are privately owned so there will be a charge to moor there, typically between £10-£20 per night. Some pubs have their own moorings, sometimes there is a small charge to moor there but this is usually redeemable in the pub.

10. Will I need to do locks?

No! The Norfolk Broads offers 125 miles of lock-free cruising.

11. What are the bridge restrictions?

There are several low bridges on the Norfolk Broads, meaning that passage under them is not always possible in a hire boat. Potter Heigham Bridge, Wroxham Bridge and Beccles Bridge are very low and cruisers may not be able to pass under these bridges depending on the height of the boat and the tide. Bridges are clearly marked and it is recommended to use the bridge pilot to take your boat through. Luckily, each of these bridges are on the edge of the Broads so you will not miss out on too much cruising if you can’t get under!

12. Are the Norfolk Broads tidal?

Yes, the Norfolk Broads are tidal. The tide strengthens the closer you get to Great Yarmouth so extra care must be taken. The Southern Broads (South of Great Yarmouth) are more tidal than the Northern Broads and we recommend that for a first boating experience, you choose to start from one of the bases North of Great Yarmouth, including Wroxham, Horning, Martham and Potter Heigham.

13. What is the difference between the Northern and Southern Broads?

The north side of the Norfolk Broads has more villages, shops and boatyards. The northern side tends to be busier than the south, especially in peak times.  The southern Broads are more tidal than the north & it is a lot quieter and more rural, with less competition for moorings.

14. What will I see on my boating holiday?

The Broads is a well known haven for wildlife, so the chances of spotting a rare bird or catching a glimpse of an otter are fairly high! There are several attractions on the Norfolk Broads, including St Benet’s Abbey, Thurne Mill, How Hill, St Helen’s Church and several nature reserves that are worth mooring up and visiting.

15. Where do I park my car?

You are welcome to park your car at the boatyard. Each of our boatyards have their own car park. Most of our boatyards include parking in the cost of the holiday; however some do charge a small fee.  

16. What are the extra costs?

Usually, on top of the hire charge for the boat, there is a fuel deposit and a non-refundable damage waiver to pay. The fuel deposit varies between £50 – £200. You always set off with a full tank of fuel, on return the boatyard refuels and works out the exact amount that you have used. If you haven’t used all of your deposit you will get a refund for the difference, if you have gone over you will pay the extra. The damage waiver is usually between £50 – £75 and is a non-refundable payment that protects you against any accidental damage made to the boat. Some of our boatyards have all-inclusive pricing, meaning the fuel & damage waiver is built into the cost of your holiday already.

17. Do you supply lifejackets?

Yes! Each person is fitted with a lifejacket on arrival. We recommend purchasing a doggy lifejacket if you are bring your pet along with you.

18. Do you supply bedding and towels?

Bedding is always provided for our motor cruisers, however towels usually are not always provided. If you are travelling from overseas towels can be provided for you.

19. Can I charge my phone?

Yes you can! On each of our cruisers there will either be a 12v charging point or a 240v plug sockets on board.

20. Can I cook on board?

Absolutely, all of our cruisers have a kitchen on board. This usually includes a fridge, oven, hob, kettle and sometimes a microwave. All of the cutlery and crockery is provided for you.

To search for your perfect boating holiday, visit our website: or call our friendly boating team on 01252 796400.