Things You Should Know Detailed below please find some information that can assist with preparing for your house boating adventure and boarding procedures. We will give you a full briefing on the day, but a little preparation can ensure that the whole process proceeds smoothly and your houseboat holiday cruises to a great start. Security Bond Like any hire company or hotel, we require a security bond prior to departing on your houseboating adventure. Please see confirmation email for bond amount for your boat. Credit Card Pre-Authorisation – A pre-authorisation will simply freeze the funds on your credit card, generally showing as a pending transaction as we do not actually receive your money. Physical card is required as EFT machines do not allow the tap function to process a pre-authorisation. Please ensure that you have the sufficient funds available.Upon return of your hire, once the vessel has been serviced and thoroughly inspected, we can process any additional costs (eg. fuel, bait, ice etc) to this card which should speed up the process of releasing the hold – this “check out” will replace the pending transaction. Alternatively we can run a cancellation but keep in mind your bank may hold this transaction for up to 30 days. Please do not go looking for a refund, as the orginal pending transaction simply disappears. Credit Card/EFT/Cash – EFT or cash payments are accepted. A refund will be issued on return once the vessel has been serviced and thoroughly inspected. Please allow time for our staff to inspect the vessel.Direct Deposit – Direct deposit payments will need to be received 2 days prior to your boarding day. On completion of your hire we will require your bank account details in order to process a refund of your bond, less any additional items. Please allow time for the payment to reach your account.If you have any questions or would like to discuss your preferable payment method please don’t hestitate to call us at the office. Boarding Due to the nature of house boating and the number of boats we operate we need to adhere to strict departure times. Your boarding time selections will be noted in your confirmation email. This will be the time we expect you to arrive at the marina ready to board and head out on the river. Please note: if an early boarding time is selected, you may be required to return the houseboat a little earlier.Once a time has been confirmed, you MUST BE READY TO BOARD the boat AND READY TO DEPART THE MARINA AT THIS TIME. There will NOT be time for you to run off to pick up any supplies or wait for late guests to arrive.Once you have boarded your luggage and are settled in, one our team members will give you a full briefing aboard your houseboat. This will include detailed instructions on driving the vessel, using the electric anchor, a full run down on the charts and maps of the river, how to use safety items such as life jackets etc, operating certain things throughout the houseboat, e.g. lighting gas stove, playing television and cd players, toilets and electrical items. Our staff can help you plan out your holiday using the maps on board and give you hints on the best anchorage, swimming and fishing spots. At Berger Houseboats we use a piloting system for driving in and out of the marina. Once out of the marina you will then take over in driving the vessel and will not be left alone until you feel capable of driving alone. Our staff are very committed to ensuring that you are confident in knowing how to safely operate your houseboat. Late Arrivals All houseboats (and tenders) under NSW Maritime Authority must not be operated after sunset. Therefore if for any reason you are not ready to depart by 3:30pm (off-peak season) you may be unable to leave the marina until the following morning. The time taken for the compulsory briefing and driving lesson to get you out to the closest anchorage point would put us outside the regulations.If you are running later than expected, please contact the office to advise us of the revised arrival time. Our captains are restricted with the number of hours they can drive so if they are required to stay back as result of this, there is a $150 per hour late fee for late departures and Saturday morning briefings.If you are expecting people in your group to arrive late, please be aware that you are NOT permitted to dock the houseboat at any marina, jetty or pontoon on the river – including ours. It is too far to travel in the tender from the nearest safe anchoring position to the marina to collect late arrivals, you would need to organise a meeting point on the river to pick up any stragglers. We can send you suggestions on the earlier places to meet if needed.Alternatively, you can organise to stay aboard the houseboat at the marina for your first night and pay the fee for a captain to give you the briefing and driving instruction on Saturday morning. Docking We operate under a pilot system and once the houseboat is taken from the marina you are not permitted to bring the houseboat back to the marina or any other marina/jetty for the duration of your hire. For your convenience, each houseboat is provided with a tender and oars to facilitate going to shore. If you wish, you can hire a small outboard motor from us to remove the need to row. You are welcome to bring your own boat to use as a tender or bring your own motor to put on our tender.Like the houseboats, the tenders are not to be driven after sunset as they are not equipped with lights, and you would be in danger in the slow-moving boat. You can purchase a set of lights for the tender and organise to pick your late arrivals up from the riverbank. Lights and batteries are available to purchase at our marina office. Shopping If you need to do any shopping etc this must be done prior to this boarding time. Ice is available at the marina and can be pre-booked; along with bait and tackle. If you would like the luxury of finding all your supplies already aboard on your arrival, you can use the Coles or Woolworths Online ordering systems. Coles and Woolworths Online will deliver to your houseboat at the marina. Prior to confirming an online grocery order, please confirm the delivery time with us. We have had occasions where the houseboat is ready to depart hours before the grocery order is booked for delivery. Car Parking The car park at the marina offers free, unlimited parking, however this is a public car park.Off-street parking is available at our main office on Frances Street.Parking is $40.00 per vehicle for a weekend, $45.00 for a midweek and $60.00 per vehicle for a week. Additional fees apply for trailer parking.Spaces are limited so we advise that you pre-book to reserve your spot. If you reserve a spot and decide on the day to stay at the marina instead, we may charge for parking if we have turned other guests away.Alternatively, vehicles can be parked at the public carpark at the marina or along River Terrace. This parking cannot be reserved. Returning 30 minutes prior to your designated return time a Berger Houseboats staff member will come board your vessel at the designated pick up point. If you need to return early please advise us prior so we can make arrangements for a captain to dock your vessel. You must be at the designated pickup spot at the allocated time; if you are late this can have a knock on effects as we will have staff waiting to service your boat. As we can have up to 19 staff working on any given day, this can be quite costly for us. Therefore we have a $150 per hour late fee for late return.Sunday and public holiday returns can be arranged however will incur a $50 captain fee. Travel Insurance We recommend that you consider taking out travel insurance for those unforeseen things that may require you to cancel your hire. Whilst we are compassionate towards illness, injury and family loss, we cannot cover the cost of short notice cancellations. This can be particularly embarrassing and a financial strain for you if your friends decide to pull out on you at the last minute. Travel insurance is low cost and will give you peace of mind that if something untoward does happen that you will not be financially disadvantaged.Travel insurance will also cover you for things other than just cancellations; you can also be covered for lost/damaged/stolen luggage, rental vehicle excess, emergency travel arrangements, medical evacuation, etc. There are several companies that offer domestic travel insurance (a simple Google search will assist) or if you walk into a Flight Centre branch you can take out a policy with them on the spot.We can recommend Oceanic Marine Risks who specialise in marine insurance. For info please visit www.oceanicmarinerisks.com.au or call (07) 3370 2555. Please note: We are more like a cruise ship than a motel, if you are late they don’t wait – you miss the boat.