Drifters canal boat cruising on the Llangollen Canal in Wales.

Cruising on the Llangollen Canal

The Drifters Standard

Drifters Waterway Holidays is a group of 9 professional hire boat companies - ABC Boat Hire, Anglo Welsh, Black Prince, Countrywide Cruisers, Foxhangers, Kate Boats, Napton Narrowboats, Shire Cruisers and Union Canal Carriers. 
Between us we offer over 590 boats for hire from 45 bases across England, Scotland and Wales. 
All our operators uphold certain industry standards of excellence, ensuring we are among the best in the business and all our customers can expect professional care and attention.

The Drifters Standard includes:


  • All our operators provide expert handover and tuition as part of the hire package and all our personnel are accredited by British Marine for ‘Hire Boat Instruction & Handover Procedures’;

    All our boats have Boat Safety Scheme Certificates, which means they are regularly independently checked to ensure they comply with all the necessary safety legislation;

    All our operators provide detailed booking confirmation, pre-arrival information (including Boaters Handbook/DVD), and clear directions to the boatyard;

    All our boatyards have on site car parks and a welcoming procedure;

    All our operators offer a 24-hour emergency telephone & assistance service;

    All our boats are licensed as hire boats by the relevant navigation authority;
    Life jackets are offered free of charge to customers by all of our members;

    All our boats are insured for accidental damage and public liability cover. Our operators may ask customers to purchase a compulsory damage waiver policy – either as an compulsory extra or included in the hire price;

    All our boats are modern canal boats with heating, well-equipped kitchens, quality furnishings, flushing toilets, hot water, showers, TVs and DVD players;

    All our operators offer clear Terms & Conditions, alongside a contract of hire;

    All our operators operate a continuous customer satisfaction survey and have a formal complaints procedure with an independent dispute resolution service;

    Our operators all have an ongoing programme of staff training and performance appraisal to ensure standards of housekeeping and specialised competency are maintained.


    The Drifters Boat Grading Scheme

    Drifters are committed to providing you with a high quality boating holiday and guest care experience. The Self Assessment Quality Grading Scheme for hire boats classifies each boat into one of five quality ratings where Five Stars is the highest award. The criteria used is very similar to other well known star grading schemes so that you can be assured of a consistent quality standard. 

    As a commitment to your safety we have undergone a boat handover audit by British Marine. We endeavour to ensure that the pricing and booking conditions are clear and straight forward in order to provide you with accurate information to help you make the best choice of holiday. 

    Each grade includes all the attributes of lower grades.


    Exceptional level of quality with highest level of décor, fixtures and fittings. Excellent standards of management efficiency and customer care. Extremely well maintained boat with a higher range of accessories and personal touches. Permanent beds made up for the standard number of crew. Mains power on board and TV/Audio equipment.


    Excellent level of décor, fixtures and fittings. High standards of management efficiency and customer care. Well maintained boat with a range of accessories and personal touches. Permanent beds made up for the standard number of crew. Mains power on board and TV/Audio equipment.


    Good quality décor, fixtures and fittings. Good standards of management efficiency and customer care. Saloon seating may be used as a bed for the standard number of crew. Full central heating, fridge, cooker, shower, toilet and washbasin.


Check availability and find your perfect holiday.

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 Canal boating holidays with Drifters

Canal boat and narrowboat boating holidays.

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Day hire boats. Self-drive boats for hire by the day.

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All your questions about boating holidays answered

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