General Information

Please find general information and FAQ about sailing with us below.

Please contact us if you would like to know more information.

Deposits

Although we are no longer charging for our public sailing schedule, we do require a £10 deposit to confirm your booking. This is fully refundable after the trip, provided guests turn up or cancel with at least 48hrs notice. If you book a free or Patron place and fail to turn up, we will retain the deposit.

When privately hiring the barge, we request a deposit of £200 to confirm your booking, with the full fee due one month before sailing.

Patreon

  • Please try to only make one booking at a time. We want you to sail aboard with us multiple times throughout the year, but not to the exclusion of others. Once you have completed your sail, please browse the choices available and book your next experience.
  • There is no minimum term for which you need to sign up for.
  • Unless otherwise stated (i.e. – Little Skippers), each booking is for one person. Only one booking per trip per Patron.
  • Patron benefits are as listed on our Patreon page – www.patreon.com/tillerandwheel
  • You are invited aboard as a guest of Tiller & Wheel – we reserve the right to cancel bookings for any reason.

Free Sailing Trips

  • We hope that you choose to support us by becoming a Patron, but there is no obligation.
  • Please only book one date at a time. Once you have completed your sail, you are welcome to book another date.
  • A bar selling refreshments will be available on the day.
  • We request a £10 deposit per space to confirm your attendance, this is refunded after the trip. If you fail to notify that you no longer wish to sail aboard having booked a place, we will retain the deposit (cancellation must be at least 48 hours before the date of sail).
  • You are invited aboard as a guest of Tiller & Wheel – we reserve the right to cancel bookings for any reason.

Where are you sailing from?

Your departure port and time will be on your booking confirmation. Unless otherwise stated, most trips depart from either:

Lower Halstow Dock – Postcode: ME9 7DZ –

Former Brickmakers Dock, now reclaimed by nature. Parking available in the gated area at the end of Lapwing Drive.

Chatham Maritime Marina – Postcode: ME4 4LP –

Part of the former Dockyard, the barge is moored outside the Marina entrance. Parking available in Marina car park – press buzzer at entry gate and say ‘Edith May’. If the car park is full, you can park in the large multistory car park by the Odeon cinema. This is a 5 minute walk away, so please allow time to park.

Embarkation Time

The time listed against your booking is when the barge will depart the quay. You will be able to board the barge up to 15 minutes before the stated sailing time. Please ensure you arrive at the barge promptly, as time and tide wait for no person!

Accessibility

At Lower Halstow, boarding is via a gang plank, with a small step on and off. At Chatham, boarding is via a sturdy, wide stepped boarding ladder (4 steps).

Aboard the barge, the decks are wide and getting about is relatively easy, but there are around 8 steps to get below.

The crew are very willing to assist anyone who may find getting on/off/around difficult and we have welcomed people of all abilities aboard the barge in the past.

What should you wear?

It can be cold on the water, even when warm on land, so we recommend bringing plenty of layers.

Sensible footwear is important, flat soled shoes – no stilettos!

We advise wearing clothes you do not mind getting a smudge of grease on – there are plenty of wires and blocks that you may come into contact with.

You will be outside in the elements for a large part of the day, so a sun hat and sun cream is advisable.

Children

Children are very welcome to come sailing on the barge, but we request they are supervised at all times, ideally one adult to each child. The crew will try to involve them in pulling ropes and taking a turn at the wheel, when conditions allow.

For younger children (14 and under), the full day trips are quite a long day and the Barge Match Experience days are not appropriate.

Catering

Most of our trips are uncatered, with soft drinks, a selection of local beers, wines and spirits, homemade cakes and snacks available to purchase from the galley. You are very welcome to bring a picnic.

For those trips that include catering, please advise of of any dietary requirements or preferences before the day and we will be pleased to incorporate these into the menu.

On Barge Match Days, please be aware that the racing can make catering difficult and so food and drinks will only be available at appropriate times.

Smoking

Smoking is strictly prohibited aboard the barge. Vaping is permitted on deck, but we ask you to be mindful of other guests and stand downwind.

Bad weather

The decision to sail is entirely at the discretion of the skipper. Should a severe weather event be forecast, your trip may be postponed. These decisions, although rare, will be taken within 24hrs of your sailing date and you will be notified via email or telephone.

In the unlikely event your trip is postponed, we will seek to arrange an alternative date for you. Refunds are not available for cancellations due to weather.

Returning to port

The length of your trip may vary depending on the conditions on the day, so please allow plenty of time after the estimated time of arrival if you are making plans for after the sail. This is particularly appropriate for the Fully Catered Day Excursions and Barge Match Experiences.

Safety aboard the barge

The barge is fully compliant with all safety regulations and carries a life raft, life jackets, flares and other associated equipment. Whilst recommended, choosing to wear a life jacket is at the discretion of passengers.

The barge will be sailed, as opposed to being underway using the engine, as much as possible and as such, there will be numerous trip hazards and working machinery around the decks. A full safety briefing will be provided at the start of the trip, so please listen carefully to all instructions.

Pets

Well behaved dogs are welcome on board the barge. Please ensure they are no bother to other guests, who may not be so keen on animals.

Cancellations

Refunds are not available for cancellations made by the customer. When at least two weeks notice prior to sailing has been provided, we will endeavour to reschedule your trip for another day.

COVID 19

The pandemic is expected to affect the 2021 sailing season – please be prepared to wear masks, regularly sanitise your hands and listen to the crew’s instructions as to where to sit so as to maintain social distancing.

Should coronavirus restrictions mean that your sailing cannot go ahead, you will be given the option of rescheduling or a refund.

If you cannot attend due to sickness, you will be offered the chance to reschedule to after your recovery.