Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Houseboating on big rivers novelty in ČR, no licence needed

27 May 2011

Prague, May 26 (CTK) - The phenomenon of small houseboat rentals, well-known from the Netherlands, has reached the Czech Republic, enabling even untrained fans to motor boat on the biggest Czech rivers, the Vltava and the Labe (Elbe).

Those interested in houseboating no longer need to undergo many weeks of training to gain a boat-driving licence. The client is only given a two-hour instruction by the rental firm's staffer.

"Afterwards the client can seize the rudder and set out on voyage," Vladimir Toman, from a company that hires houseboats in Prague, on the Vltava, has told the media.

He said this leisure time activity has become fashionable and attracts lots of people, therefore he recommends potential clients to book a houseboat in advance.

In a brief course before the brand-new boat "captain" sets off, he learns river traffic signs and studies maps to see what difficult sections he may face on his voyage.

Then the instructor and the client make several rounds on the river together for the latter to learn to handle the rudder and the engine, and also to leave the bank and to land again.

The instruction culminates with the pupil driving the boat through the locks in Prague-Holesovice.

The maximum speed of a houseboat is ten kilometres per hour. However, there is a number of locks along the most used river sections, which reduces the average daily speed to some five kilometres per hour.

The houseboats offer equipment similar to that in tourist chalets. They have a small kitchen with dishes, a gas cooker, a fridge and a table, and also a tank with water for the voyagers to have a shower. The bunk beds remind of conditions genuine sailors' are accommodated in.

Houseboating can be combined with biking on numerous cycling paths in the Vltava and Labe's surroundings, Toman said.

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