Top Tips For Hiring a Boat On The Norfolk Broads

enjoy your day out on the norfolk broads with some the best tips to keep you safe and have an enjoyable experience hring a boat

Best tips when hiring a boat

The Norfolk Broads provide a perfect boating haven, with more than 125 miles of waterways to explore through picturesque landscapes dotted with quaint villages and historic landmarks. Renting a vessel is a great way to discover this breathtaking region, whether you want a calm journey or an active holiday, including fishing, trekking, and watching the wildlife. But, it’s crucial to be aware of what to expect and how to secure the right watercraft for your requirements before setting sail. This article will offer the top guidelines for renting a boat in the Norfolk Broads, including picking the right vessel, organizing your itinerary, navigating the inland waterways, and ensuring safety while onboard. Whether you’re an experienced sailor or a novice boater, these suggestions will guarantee that you have an enjoyable time exploring the Norfolk Broads. 

1. Research Norfolk Broads boat hire companies

Prior to selecting a boat rental on the Norfolk Broads, it is crucial to conduct research. With numerous boat rental firms to choose from, finding one that provides the ideal boat for your requirements and finances is crucial. Look for reputable companies that offer patron feedback and comprehensive boat operation instructions. Moreover, it is advisable to assess the company website for additional amenities and deals. Thoroughly investigating boat rental firms will help you make an informed decision and guarantee a pleasurable and hassle-free boating experience. 

2. Choose the best boat within your budget

After conducting thorough research on Norfolk Broads boat hire companies, it’s time to start thinking about the type of boat that would best suit your needs and budget. It’s important to choose a boat that comfortably fits your group, taking into consideration the number of berths and seating arrangements. Additionally, considering a boat with a sliding roof or split sliding roof could enhance your experience as it allows you to enjoy the outdoors while cruising. It’s crucial to look beyond just the berth sizes listed on the website and carefully examine the floor plans and photos to ensure the boat is the right fit. Opting for the best boat available within your budget could make a significant difference in your overall boating holiday experience on the Norfolk Broads.

3. Know how to start the engine before casting off

Knowing how to start the engine before casting off is an essential skill to have before hiring a boat on the Broads. As mentioned earlier, gently push the throttle forward, and when moving forward, gently turn the boat in the direction you want to travel. Before starting the engine in the mornings, it is essential to make some easy checks. One of the most important checks to make is the oil level. It’s always a good idea to have a quick check over of everything on the boat before setting out. By doing so, you can avoid any mishaps or breakdowns while out on the water. With these simple tips, anyone can confidently cast off and enjoy the beautiful Norfolk Broads at their own pace.

4. Dual steering offers better visibility on the water

With the research done, the best boat found within budget, and knowing how to start the engine, it’s time to consider features that can make the boating experience more enjoyable. One such feature is dual steering, which provides better visibility on the water. The boat can be steered from “up top,” giving a clear view of the reed beds and surroundings, which is ideal for navigating through the beautiful yet narrow waterways of the Broads. It’s a great option for those seeking a more immersive experience, allowing them to better appreciate the natural beauty of the area.

5. No prior experience is required

If you lack prior experience, don’t fret about hiring a boat on the Norfolk Broads since it’s not a prerequisite. One of the benefits of hiring a boat is that the rental companies provide complete instructions on how to operate and steer the boat before you embark. Thus, whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a novice, you have nothing to worry about. Furthermore, the company’s staff is always present to assist you if required, and they will give you an extensive briefing on boat safety and feasible routes. Therefore, sit back, unwind, and bask in a stress-free journey on the magnificent Norfolk Broads.

6. Charging electronics while boating

Maintaining connectivity during a holiday is crucial, and charging electronic devices plays a vital role in achieving it. Fortunately, most Norfolk Broads boat rental agencies provide boats equipped with 240v inverters for charging phones and laptops. If you aim to save battery life, using the main charger while cruising can assist in lessening the drainage. It’s essential to prepare for all possibilities and plan accordingly. Nonetheless, remember that the actual highlight of a boating getaway in Norfolk Broads includes disconnecting from the outside world and relishing the stunning scenery. Therefore, while charging electronics is significant, do not overlook taking breaks and savouring the natural beauty around you. 

7. Scenic route suggestions

Once you’ve got your boat and are ready to set sail on the Norfolk Broads, it’s time to plan your route. The Broads are home to an array of stunning scenery, so it can be hard to choose where to go first. Luckily, there are plenty of suggested routes available and also many places to moor.  More so, plenty of free moorings as well. One great option is to head up the River Bure to Wroxham, stopping off for a pub lunch along the way. Another scenic option is to head towards Salhouse Broad, where you can take in the breathtaking views of the open water and surrounding woodlands. Don’t forget to also explore the quieter backwaters and hidden channels for a peaceful and secluded route. With so many beautiful spots to explore, you’re guaranteed to have a fantastic experience on the Norfolk Broads.

8. Consider the size and needs of your group

When hiring a boat on the Norfolk Broads, it’s important to consider the size and needs of your group. Different boats offer varying capacities, so it’s essential to choose one that comfortably accommodates your group while complying with legal requirements. Additionally, think about your group’s needs, such as wheelchair accessibility, sleeping arrangements, or an onboard toilet. This will help you narrow down your options and ensure that everyone is comfortable onboard. Don’t forget to consider the amount of luggage you’ll be carrying, as it can take up space and affect the boat’s stability. By considering the size and needs of your group beforehand, you can make the most of your boating experience on the beautiful Norfolk Broads.

9. Starting from the right boatyard

Selecting the appropriate boatyard is crucial when planning to rent a boat on the Norfolk Broads. There are several boatyards with varying services and boat types available. It is advisable to investigate the boatyards beforehand and choose one that matches your needs, such as location, amenities, or boat type. Beginning the journey from the appropriate boatyard can greatly impact the convenience and pleasure of your boating excursion. Hence, it’s vital to research diligently, make a judicious decision, and prepare for an unforgettable expedition on the captivating Norfolk Broads. For example, in Potter Heigham right next to Latham’s, there’s Herbert Woods. There’s a massive car park right next to it. It’s perfect to have a car park right next to the riverside. 

10. Keep in mind your ideal holiday perception

It is important to consider your personal holiday expectations when renting a boat on the Norfolk Broads. Everyone has their own idea of a perfect holiday, so it is crucial to choose a boat and route that align with your preferences. Whether you want a peaceful journey or an exciting adventure, there are options available to suit your needs. When selecting a boat, take into account the needs and interests of your group, and don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations from the rental company. By conducting research and planning ahead of time, you can ensure that your Norfolk Broads trip meets your expectations. 


Whether you’re a local from Great Yarmouth or Norwich, or visiting for the first time, be assured that the broads have something for everybody. A single day boat hire, cruiser or something more luxurious, there’s nothing more peaceful than a day out in this famous waterways. Always check the latest news and information from the Broads Authority as things regularly change.