Water activity

York: Self-Steer Boat Rental

Activity provider: City Cruises York
Water activity

York: Self-Steer Boat Rental

Activity provider: City Cruises York

From US$ 55.21 per group up to 8

Try your hand at skippering your own boat by hiring one of these nippy little self-steer boats. They are fantastic fun, safe, and easy to pilot. Suitable for up to 8 passengers.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund
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Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures are in place. Check your activity voucher once you book for full details.
Duration 1 hour
Check availability to see starting times.
Skip the ticket line
Private group


  • Steer your own motor boat on the same river that the Vikings travelled on
  • See the picturesque sights of York's riverscape at your own pace
  • Bring a hamper and non-alcoholic drinks with you, and enjoy a picnic on board
Full description

Enjoy a leisurely one hour hire, exploring York from the helm of your own self-steer motorboat. Become a captain and explore the sites of York’s riverside in style. Your private boat can accommodate up to 8 people and will provide plenty of room for you all to head out on your own aquatic adventure, exploring the same river that brought the Vikings to this beautiful city. You will receive full instructions on how to operate your motor boat along with safety and river rules, whilst life jackets will be provided for any children. Your boat operating area is along a route that will along you to take in the whole city from the river within the one hour.

Additionally, on a half hour hire you can operate within this area and will be able to take in most of the built up section of the Ouse, or make your way down stream to the Millennium Bridge and back to the moorings again. Please note that the boats cannot be taken past Clifton Bridge or the Millennium Bridge. You are not allowed to moor the boat up and disembark at any point on the river other than at the at King’s Staith (where your hire first began).

  • Life jackets (compulsory for children aged 10 and under)
  • Full instructions on how to drive the boat, the area of operation and the rules of the river
  • £40 cash security deposit (you will need to bring this with you on the day)
  • Drinks or snacks (but you are welcome to bring these with you with the exception of alcohol)

Select participants and date



Meeting point

The Red Boat Hire Point, King's Staith, Tower Gardens, York, YO1 9SN.

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Important information

What to bring

  • Passport or ID card
  • Cash

Not allowed

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol and drugs

Know before you go

  • Hires will begin on the hour from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM on weekdays and at either 10:00 AM or 11:00 AM on weekends and Bank Holidays (there may be a wait of up to 15 minutes during peak times). The person hiring the boat must be at least 18 years old and be able to provide a valid means of ID
  • People under the influence of alcohol are not permitted on board and no alcohol is to be taken on board
  • You are more than welcome to bring a picnic and soft drinks along with you to enjoy on board
  • You will then be required to bring a cash security deposit with you on the day of travel (minimum £40)
  • Once you have pre-booked online with GetYourGuide, you will still be required to meet the conditions of hire on arrival at the jetty. NOTE: If you do not meet the conditions of hire you will be refused
  • You are welcome to bring your own non-alcoholic drinks and snacks on board
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.6 /5

based on 412 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Value for money
  • Safety

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Firstly, you get an entire hour on the water. Feed explanation of the river rules and guides given before you board plus there is a copy on board to refresh your memory. The boats are comfortable and just the right speed even at full steam ahead to still take in the sights along the banks and other river user antics. Very relaxing and even better if the weather is right, although not essential as the boats have covers overhead to keep you dry. If you haven’t yet experienced this, you should book at the earliest opportunity you have as this is definitely a must, especially as you can have a party of 8 onboard for the same price as one! Walk up without booking is available, but you could be waiting a while so it’s better to book your time slot so you can make the most of your day. So wether you want to be Captain Jack Sparrow or Captain Birdseye, this is the ticket for you, you won’t regret it. Yo ho me hearties, yo ho!

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August 28, 2022

We had a fantastic day out on the boats, we took a group of adults and kids aged 10 months to 10 years, everyone really enjoyed it! One hour was just the right amount of time. The staff were really friendly and cheerful and great with the kids, this made a difference for us. The weather was warm and dry, I am sure that helped too. It is noisy when the boat engine is running, this is worth noting but we had two kids who are sensitive to noise and they were fine with it.

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August 27, 2022

This was a brilliant activity! We really enjoyed this view of York. It was a drizzly day, but where you sit to drive is covered and there is the option to pull a roof over. Takes an hour and our two teenagers easily managed to drive the bot. Pretty slow, so perfectly safe. A really chilled out hour. Well worth it

July 31, 2022

Product ID: 132348