While it’s our gut instinct to head indoors and snuggle down and drink hot chocolate all winter, here at Chester Boat, we kept ourselves busy – both on the water and off! We have quite a to-do list as the season ends and the nights draw in.
All through December, we hosted a series of sell-out Christmas parties. Hundreds of people came along and had an absolutely great time on board – we LOVE what we do! It was great fun decorating the Lady Diana and welcoming so many happy Cestrians. We saw a lifetime’s worth of Christmas jumpers, some of which were truly spectacular! Well done, Chester – you were magnificent, as always.
The boats were able to take a short break in January, while their crew headed into the boat house to plan for 2018. We got a big diary out, put the kettle on, took a deep breath and scheduled:
257 days of Half-hour City Cruises (sailing at least six times each day!)
172 Two-hour Iron Bridge Cruises
52 Party Nights Afloat
8 Afternoon Teas
7 parties for Christmas 2018 (it soon comes around, folks!)
4 Curry and Quiz Cruises
6 Fish and Chip Friday Cruises
Then we updated our website, got our marketing plans together and set every single event up at our online box office. When we think about all the group trips, school outings, private charters, weddings and corporate events outside the regular schedule, we soon realise that 2018 is going to be BUSY – but brilliant!
After all that headwork, we turned our attention back to our lovely boats again, though not as you might expect. Every two years, we carry out extensive safety checks to make sure things are in order. We strip everything down, clear out the bars, serving areas, any non-fixed furniture – in fact everything that would fall out if you shook the boat upside-down. That’s because ‘extensive safety checks’ mean lifting the boats up out of the river, using a huge crane – our little Jackie weighs 25 tonnes, Mark Twain is 28 tonnes and Lady Diana weighs in at 32 tonnes! We moor them (or do we park them on dry land?) in a car park, so our engineers and technicians can give all three a really thorough health check, inside and out.
Happy to report that all passed their medicals with flying colours, though we don’t think they’re that keen on having their bottoms inspected in the middle of Chester city centre! A good spruce up, a nice fresh coat of paint and then they were back home, on the river where they belong.
February saw the launch of our low-season City Cruises and a few busy party nights to get the year off to a flying start. It’s been a bit nippy, yes, but wrap up warm and you’ll be well rewarded by our wonderful river. We love beautiful, crisp days in early spring. The light’s crystal clear, the water is smooth and there’s so much to see. The river looks very different when the trees aren’t in leaf, and it’s much easier to spot wildlife; especially birds who are out and about getting ready for nesting. Like us, they’re preparing for their own busiest time of the year.
And now our 2018 diary is filling up, our boats are spick and span and we’re looking for great people to join our crew. We’ve already found some brilliant bar staff, so we just need to fill a few crew vacancies – and find an extra skipper.
We’re a family business and a small, but very friendly team. Fancy joining us?