(please note all updates are now just new info – everything re. extra cleaning/protection measures already mention still stand)
SERVICE UPDATE AS OF 28 MAY 2020
We’ve just finished our first week and it’s been great. On the whole, people are respecting distancing rules & our new way of doing things & seem grateful for something fun to do outside of lockdown.
A few points to consider if you are visiting:
- We have a one (person/family) in, one out policy in the cafe reception & jetty areas, so please know what you want before you enter so that we may serve you quickly.
- There is a line marked on the floor in front of the desk. To safeguard yourself & staff, please do not cross it.
- Arrive 20mins early for boat hire in case of queues.
- There is no space around the jetty for spectators; if you’re not boating with your family consider either staying at home or walking along the public footpath on the downstream & Kent side of the river.
- You are not able to picnic along the river or in the cricket ground – it is all private land.
- If not boating, please call to pre-order food from our takeaway menuFor boaters, please order when you get off the boats – our menu isn’t ‘fast food’, it is freshly made portable food, so expect to wait 10-20 mins. We will serve your drinks at this point & then you can wait in the cafe garden until called. You can either take your food home, or to the large camping field with your car, eat and then leave with all your rubbish. This is the most that we are allowed to do right now, please do not try to make a day of it sunbathing or kicking a ball around, it is simply to enable you to eat our food at it’s best. If this rule is flouted we will be forced to make everyone take their food home instead.
These might seem strict rules, but remember that just 1 week ago we were not allowed out at all (other than for food or medicine) & we must all adhere to these baby steps if we want to get back to some normality.
Thank you for your patience & co-operation.
UPDATE AS OF 19 MAY 2020
It’s been a full on few days, but we are ready to open tomorrow!! Very excited. Check out our takeaway menu & order for when you get off the boats. We’ve also built a new jetty, which’ll make it easier for you to board your boat – not bad with less that one week’s notice of re-opening! Hope to see you very soon x
Self-launch – if not also hiring our equipment, no longer to book ahead. You might have to wait until jetty clear as priority given to customers using our equipment.
UPDATE AS OF 17 MAY 2020
And finally for some good news ….
The river is open!!! We will re-open boat hire and food take-away from Wednesday 20 May so you can hire kayaks, tandem kayaks, canoes, SUPs and rowing boats.
Open Wed 20-Sun 31 May – BOAT HIRE: 10am-7pm TAKEAWAY: 12pm-8pm. (To be reviewed for June). PLEASE DO NOT VISIT SITE IF YOU OR ANYONE IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD IS PRESENTING WITH ANY CORONAVIRUS SYMPTOMS.
The takeaway menu is being written and tested this weekend and will be on our website by Wednesday. We urge you to order and pay by phone in advance to limit people on site. Please call 01797 25 3838. The menu is likely to change frequently, so please check website before calling and make sure you let us know of any food allergies.
Sadly, at this stage all food has to be consumed off site.
In order for us to carry out equipment hire safely and in accordance with government distancing guidelines PLEASE READ & ADHERE to the following:
PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE EXISTING ADVICE ON OUR WEBSITE STILL APPLIES:
- We would prefer the boats to be pre-booked (even self-launch), so that we control numbers of people in communal areas. Please see our website and decide what you’d like to book before contacting us – we’ll need to know a mobile number for someone on the water, type and number of boats required, date, time & duration of hire. BOOKINGS FOR CURRENT DAY: CALL 01797253838. FUTURE BOOKINGS: via booking form: https://bodiamboatingstation.wufoo.com/forms/qk48y1o07mvzkf/
- Following government guidelines, you will only be able to go out with people from your own household OR by yourself, with one other person not from your household.
- To restrict numbers of people around the reception and jetty area we ask you to respect a 2m distance from anyone not from your household at all times and to think about hiring your boat(s) for more than the 1hr minimum.
- On arrival, follow arrows & distancing request to reception area to pay, order/collect takeaway food, grab ice-cream, drinks etc. Think about ordering food for when you get off the boats so that we can have it ready for you.
- Instead of us helping you in and out of the boats (as we usually do) we are re-building the jetty to help make the boats stable enough for you to do this unaided. If you are at all nervous around water or have poor mobility or balance, we suggest you wait until distancing measures have been further relaxed. We will ask parents to supervise children before getting in themselves.
- There will be a member of staff on the bank who can advise on how to alight and disembark safely.
- We would encourage you to wear masks in the event there is an emergency that requires assistance.
- We recommend neoprene booties or rubber soled, non-slip shoes & urge you to wear gloves.
- Each boat, paddle and buoyancy aid will be washed/sanitized between rentals. It would be a good idea to bring a towel and even waterproof jacket or change of clothes if you don’t want to get a soggy bottom or in case we run out of dry buoyancy aids. If you have your own buoyancy aid, please bring it!
- After rental please return to cafe reception to collect your deposit.
* Please note that the maximum number of people stated is irrelevant of weight.
* Buoyancy aids are available free of charge & are compulsory for everyone 16 years & under.
* Anyone under 18 years can paddle their own vessel if there is an adult paddling with them within 10 meters. We do not allow under 18s to go out alone, even if an adult is walking along the river bank. Please respect this rule; we are simply looking out for the safety of your children.
* Please arrive 20 mins prior to your booking & make sure you return your boat(s) at the agreed time to avoid charges & delaying others.
* Please be respectful of fisherman on the banks & pass on the opposite side of the river as quickly & quietly as possible.
* You won’t need specialist clothing, but these tips might help: Gym clothes and layers best, gloves useful if paddling (cycling/neoprene), wear non-slip shoes – there is space in most boats for extra clothing/food.
* We recommend putting valuables in a waterproof case – sold in our shop
SELF LAUNCH: If you have your own kayak, you can park your car and launch from our jetty for £5 per boat. Please launch and get free of the jetty as quickly as you can.
Copy of email sent 22/3/20
To our valued customers,
As the virus gathers momentum, we have inevitably been shut down from all operations. This week has been truly heart wrenching and emotionally exhausting. We simply don’t know how not to be in the restaurant, river bank & campsite, working hard to look after our customers. Much of our activity is seasonal; we tick along in the winter and as the old saying goes, we literally ‘make hay while the sun shines’, so we’d be lying if we said we weren’t worried for the future.
The support you’ve given us over the past couple of weeks via cafe visits, emails, calls, messages on our social media pages etc has simply been overwhelming. I’ve got back to as many as possible, but apologies if any have slipped through the net. Of course we are not alone and everyone will have their own personal and professional battles to overcome during this impossible time and we wish you the very best.
What we are certain of though, is that this will come to an end and we will celebrate in style, so if you have any bookings with us, please don’t think of them as cancelled, just postponed for a better time.
I don’t want to bombard you with countless emails, so this will be the last for a while; in the meantime any new info will be added here. As it stands we have made the following changes:
Sadly we are now closed. However, we have made a batch of frozen meals (some vegan, gluten free etc) should you need them. We have deliberately made them nutritionally dense to aid a healthy balanced diet. In addition, we have some groceries & sweet treats that you might find useful during these next few tough months. This TAKEAWAY MENU will only be available for a short time though. Please call 01797253838 & leave your order on the answerphone & let us know what time you will collect so that we can have it ready for you. We will be open for collection Monday-Wednesday 10am-1pm THIS WEEK ONLY. As we had planned to be open for Mothering Sunday, we have some extra items, which will be added to the menu on Monday, so do have another look then.
AS A GESTURE & TO SHOW OUR APPRECIATION, WE ARE OFFERING NHS STAFF 25% DISCOUNT
Personally I can think of nothing better than temporarily escaping the madness on a kayak on the river. However, with more and more public beaches and open areas being closed down, we have no choice but to follow suit. We cannot accept responsibility for people using the jetty without our assistance so I’m afraid it will remain closed during this time, so no self-launch either I’m afraid.
As it is impossible for you and our Captain to maintain safe distance from one another, I’m afraid there will be no cruises during this time.
This has been the hardest decision. Where better to put yourself than in the middle of a field with your family and away from others? However, asking staff to clean communal areas such as toilets and showers, puts them in harms way and so with a heavy heart we have closed this too.
In this unprecedented situation we want to remain transparent. Financially this puts us all in a difficult predicament; we don’t want you to miss out on your camping holiday and we can’t afford to lose the revenue. Our insurance, like most, doesn’t cover a global pandemic. Postponing all bookings puts pressure on the future, as in effect, if we move all bookings to next year, we will be restricted on space to sell next year. All aid promised by the government will be a loan that will require repayment, further dampening revenue for the next couple of years at best. It is not an exaggeration to say that we have agonised over what to do. We have spoken to other campsite managers, who’ve simply said ‘tough luck’ to customers, and we have lost a holiday ourselves with no recompense, but we just can’t do this. The beauty of camping is that by comparison it is far cheaper than any other holiday accommodation, but that said, it is still paid for by hard earned money and may be your only escape from the norm.
So, we have decided to scrap our normal cancellation policy, that you agreed at time of booking. From today, we are proposing to credit all camping bookings, during the closed period, 75% of any monies already paid to be used anytime over the next two years from date of opening. If you do have travel insurance and make a successful claim, please do let us know, so that we can pass this saving onto others. Otherwise, you don’t have to do anything; we will mark the credit against the person who made your booking.
We hope you’ll agree this a fair solution and thank you for your understanding. Please do what you can to stay safe and let’s all do what we can to remain positive at this difficult time. If you do get to go out boating or even camping in your own garden, do send us some pictures that we can share with others. Personally, it’s uplifting to see others happy, healthy and finding fun in an otherwise challenging situation.
Also sending the best of luck to all parents starting homeschooling tomorrow morning. We are truly terrified!!
We wish you good health
Vanessa and Alex
As at 17/3/20
We are in the middle of a crisis that no one in the world has experienced before. It is a fast evolving & dynamic situation, with ever changing advice & protocol & is likely to prove a difficult time for us all.
Your support is vital to our survival during this unprecedented situation. As you know, we have worked tirelessly to create & grow these businesses into what they are today. Most of our full time staff have been with us for years and we are desperate not to let them go, or the business fail.
Yesterday the government advised people not to go to restaurants, but haven’t officially closed us down. Given our rural location, spaciousness & outside seating, we can offer some social distancing and are therefore committed to staying open until we are told otherwise.
Today we are formalising plans to offer TAKEAWAY meals for you to heat up at home, so please call to register your interest. Menus & details to follow in next couple of days. We are hopeful that we will also be able to deliver food to those who are unable to get out themselves, so watch this space. These meals will come with a comprehensive list of ingredients & allergens as well as cooking instructions.
** PLEASE SUPPORT US **
If you’d like to support us but don’t know how, one idea that a friend suggested was to buy VOUCHERS from us – available by phone or on the Bodiam Boating Station website – which can be used for food, boat hire, camping & river cruises in the future months, should we be closed down for a period.
We are awaiting further advice from the government before declaring our position on boat hire and camping, so please be patient and we will be in touch as soon as we know more.
We’d like to thank you all for your support so far and we whole heartedly wish you and you family well at this difficult time. We can only hope that this is short lived and we will soon be able to put this nightmare behind us all.
AS AT 9 MARCH 2020
It occurred to us that our customers don’t know the measures we have taken to safeguard them & our staff from this infection.
Please know that we have gone cleaning crazy!
We are regularly sanitising all door handles, menus & toilets.
Every time a customer leaves we sanitise the table, sugar, salt & pepper pots.
We wash our hands regularly & after touching phones, money/credit cards, dogs etc.
Even if you don’t use the cutlery we give you, it goes through the dishwasher at high temperature & we discard all unused napkins.
We truly believe you are no more at risk of catching this virus here than you are going about your daily routine at work/school or home, so I hope you will continue to visit us. However, if you experience symptoms of covid_19 please stay at home & follow current guidelines.