The Thames until relatively recently was a slow and tranquil place where tripping and charter boats slowly cruised up and down the river whilst people enjoyed the sights gliding past. Over the past few years there has been a growing fleet of high-speed river buses and small speed boats, RIB’s and jet boats on the Thames in London.
This has brought a new element to the traditional river boats and London party boats; a new fast, adrenaline fueled, fun angle for enjoying the beautiful River Thames as it carves it’s way through the heart of the City.
So when looking to charter a speed boat on the Thames in London, try out the jet boat experience, or RIB blasts what do you need to be aware of…?
Numbers: Most of the speed boats on the River Thames in London cater for up to 12 passengers, but some of the smaller speed boats can only cater for up to 6 or 8 passengers. The biggest jet boat can hold 20.
One thing to note – the less people in the boat the faster it goes… simple physics! If you are having a private charter discourage everyone from joining you, particularly with the Jet boat, and everything is faster and more ‘interesting’…
Saying that the boats have vast engines so are more than capable of providing high-speed fun when loaded, they are just more maneuverable when lighter.
The Weather: most of the speed boats are open with no covered areas making the unpredictable British Weather of a higher importance. There are solutions – a speed boat or powerboat with a cabin or the more popular one – waterproofs! The open speed boats and jet boats on the Thames all offer loan of yachting waterproofs for occasions where the weather is not behaving. These are generally included in the hire fee.
Facilities: the nature of a speed boat charter on the Thames means it is usually brief – i.e around an hour in total. Therefore most have few facilities. For example unless you charter a luxury powerboat or traditional wooden boat they are unlikely to have toilets or the option of drinks and catering…
Time: Most are not able to go out on charter after sunset. It depends on the boat here. A good rule of thumb is if they have facilities such as toilets, food and drinks then they will be available for charters after dark. Generally the smaller boats are restricted.
Cost: The charters are often quite short which sometimes means the rates are ‘lower’ than on the larger London party boats. However in general speed boats are expensive to charter due to the fact they don’t hold many people, have no facilities to cross and up-sell other services and use a lot of fuel. They have to be money making to continue so please bear this in mind.
Type of experience: From a candle lit dinner to 360 degree spins there is a Thames speed boat for almost every occasion. If speed and adrenaline are key then nothing beats the Jet Boat experience, but if a more sedate evening of private luxury is sought then a powerboat or traditional wooden speed boat offer pure style and sophistication.
Boats: There are many styles of fast boats for hire on the River Thames in London. There are open RIB style speed boats, James bond style powerboats, traditional wooden cabin speed boats and High-power Jet Boats for the ultimate thrill ride experience.
- Thames Speed boats
- London Jet Boats for Hire
- London RIB Charters
- Traditional Thames speed boat
- London Powerboats for hire – James Bond style
I hope this guide has been useful – more info on boating on the River Thames in London can be found in the many articles below.