Alternative Boat Hire Iona
Freya hauls up the main sail
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Contact and Booking

++++ COVID 19 Information ++++

While Covid is restricting our lives, we are operating to government recommendations which are subject to change. During the booking process you should receive information current at the time. If you have any questions, please contact us.

For any enquiries or booking a trip please contact us:
Mark Jardine
Lovedale Cottage
Isle of Iona
PA76 6SJ

Booking is always recommended.
Payments: We cannot at present handle credit cards. Payments for trips (due at the end of the outing) will be accepted in cash, or sterling cheque, or by electronic bank transfer or Paypal (small surcharge for this service).
FAQ about sailing with Birthe Marie
How are the bookings managed?
How much space is available?
Do you go to Staffa?
How does the out of hours ferry service work?
How can we pay for the trip?
Is there a toilet on board?
What about food?
Will children enjoy a trip on Birthe Marie?
Is it safe to go out sailing?
What should I wear?
Can I bring my dog?
Is it possible that a trip gets cancelled?

How are the bookings managed?
Alternative Boat Hire is not a big business. Enquiry would reveal that it is mainly the same person who answers e-mails, returns phone messages, usually skippers the boat, writes blogs and maintains the boat and all its legal requirements.
This means not all these functions can be carried out simultaneously! E-mails and phone messages will generally be dealt with in the evening, once a day.
We do not currently run a smart phone: reception is limited while at sea, and multi tasking can only be taken so far. And yes, Mark is stubbornly in the dinosaur category.
Generally, bookings can only be handled from home, simply to avoid the risk of double bookings.
Every enquiry receives a unique reply, but we are not quite as fast to respond as some might have come to expect in the modern electronic age.

Please read the following information regarding safety, terms for running a trip, clothing and catering:
All trips are made subject to suitable conditions at the skipper`s discretion.
Any landings are undertaken at passengers own risk.

Birthe Marie is licensed under the Maritime and Coastguard Agency`s (MCA) small commercial vessel rules. She is coded Category 2 for 4 passengers & Category 3 for 12 passengers. This allows operations up to 60miles/ 20miles respectively from any safe haven.
The licensing system lays down clearly requirements to ensure a safe vessel and working practices and all the safety equipment to be carried. The vessel is inspected at regular intervals to ensure that these requirements are being complied with.
Family Outing
Children are absolutely welcome and we carry a variety of junior sizes of lifejacket; however parents are reminded they are expected to be responsible for their children`s welfare aboard. You will be asked if you would like your children to wear a lifejacket while aboard and the MCA does recommend this.

Terms and conditions for running a trip
Embarkation for the trips is normally from Iona (or Fionnphort by request) pier. Passengers should be at the pier 5 minutes before departure of the trip.
For scheduled trips Mark will choose the route of the trip to give the best chance of enjoyable sailing. However please mention your wishes before or at the start of the trip and Mark will discuss with you and other passengers their feasibility.
The 3-hour afternoon trips require a minimum of 3 passengers to guarantee operation.
During day trips it is normal for the boat to anchor somewhere sheltered and close to the shore over lunch time and for folk to go ashore to explore. Landings are effected by inflatable dinghy.
The DAY OUT trip requires a minimum of 4 passengers to guarantee operation.
If the weather causes us to cancel a trip altogether we will normally discuss with you whether there is another date which is mutually acceptable to run a postponed trip.

As there is only limited shelter available aboard passengers must bring with them appropriate clothing for a boat trip in the Hebrides. It is nearly always a bit cooler afloat than it is ashore so it is important to have spare layers of clothing, a hat, adequate waterproofs and sensible footwear. On sunny days it is worth remembering that the sea reflects the sun so you can get a double dose of this, UV cream and sunglasses can be useful. There is an area below, however during day trips or shorter, the expectation is that passengers will generally remain on deck, you can`t see anything from below and it is not unlikely that it will cause most folk to feel a bit queasy if they stay `downstairs`.
There is however a toilet (the `heads`) which is useful on longer trips if you need to `pay a visit`.

On day trips passengers should bring with them a packed lunch and something to drink.
We can offer fresh home made scones for whole boat hire trips by arrangement if we have at least two days advance notice.

`Lunch is over, you`ve all winter to eat, lets go and get some fish` Bertie MacRae

Sailing goosewinged.
Alternative Boat Hire Iona telephone:01681 700537 Facebook