Fun for all the family

Self-Drive Red Boats

Today's cruise timetable

Unfortunately there are no cruises today. We currently only operate on weekends in January. Thank you.

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Take the helm on board your own self drive motor boat!

Book a morning Red Boat hire in advance at the “Early Bird Special” price……….

Why not try your hand at skippering your own boat by hiring one of our fleet of Self-Drive Red Boats?! They are fantastic fun, safe and easy to drive.

Enjoy a leisurely half hour or maximum one-hour hire, exploring York from the helm of your own self-drive motorboat. Become a captain and explore the sites of York’s riverside in style!

We have fourteen Red Boats in total. Their names are Josephine, Angie, Leonie, Sarah, Yvette, Kathryn, Alice-May, Lucy, Tina, Heather, Ellen, Rebecca, Emma and Penny!

They can accommodate up to 8 people and so provide plenty of room for you all to head out on your own aquatic adventure, exploring the same river that brought the Vikings to our beautiful city.

You will receive full instructions on how to operate your motor boat along with our safety and river rules, whilst life jackets will be provided for any children.

Where can we go?

Our Red Boat operating area is the same as the route for our York City cruises, so with a one hour hire you will be able to take in the whole city from the river. 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 our moorings again.

Please note that the Red 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 our Red Boat Hire Point at King’s Staith.

Can anybody hire them?

The person hiring the Red 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.

If you have any questions about our Self-Drive Red Boats, then you are welcome to call our Sales Office on 01904 628324. However, we hope that you will be able to find the answers here in our FAQs.

Online Bookings

Pre-booking is only available for Self-Drive Red Boats on a Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 12 Noon and from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on a weekend or Bank Holiday (must be pre-booked by 8:30 a.m. on the day of travel). If you would like to hire a Red Boat after these times, you will need to go directly to the Red Boat Landing to arrange a hire.

When booking online you will only pay in advance for the boat hire itself. You will then be required to bring the cash security deposit with you on the day of travel (minimum £40). Once you have pre-booked online you will still be required to meet the conditions of hire on arrival at the jetty. If you are deemed to not meet the conditions of hire, then you will receive a full refund electronically from our Sales Office, not at the jetty.

Click here to pre-book your Red Boat.


Red Boat Hire Point

Red Boats are available to hire from our Kings Staith Landing only and not from our Boatyard or our Lendal Bridge Landing.

Access an interactive Google Map to take you directly to our Red Boat Hire Point

Hire Prices

£25 – £40 per hour (half hour hire prices also available; ask the Red Boat Team on the day for details).

An early-bird special price is available between 9:45 a.m. and 12 noon every day.

A returnable, cash security bond is also required for all hires.

Pre-booking is only available for Self-Drive Red Boats on a Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 12 Noon and from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on a weekend or Bank Holiday (must be pre-booked by 8:30 a.m. on the day of travel).

When pre-booking, you are required to arrive at the Red Boat Hire Point 15 minutes before the time of hire to allow time for the rules of the river, area of operation and boat handling instructions to be explained. Should you arrive late then you will lose your booking.

Click here to pre-book your Red Boat.

Prices subject to change.

Operating Dates and Times:

Available to hire daily:

Saturday 24th March – Sunday 4th November 2018.

Opening and Closing Times:

Red Boats are available to hire from 9:45AM on the above dates.

The closing time is determined by factors such as weather, river levels and demand. Call our sales office for more details.

Conditions of Hire

The hirer MUST be 18 years or over, you may be asked to provide ID.

The hirer MUST NOT be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Maximum of 8 people per boat.

All children under the age of 10 MUST wear a lifejacket.

The hirer MUST read and abide by the RULES OF THE RIVER, which are displayed on board.

The hourly charge and security deposit MUST be paid in full by cash before the boat is let.

City Cruises York (operators of RedBoat) reserve the right to refuse to hire a Red Boat to anyone deemed likely to breach the terms of hire. All male or all female parties may be refused hire.

The hire will be terminated if customer behaviour is seen to be/reported to be unacceptable.


Part or all of the deposit will be retained if:

  • The boat is more than 10 minutes late returning to the landing (unless the hirer can satisfy the Red Boat Staff that there is a valid reason).
  • The boat is excessively dirty and requires more than 5 minutes cleaning.
  • The boat is damaged in any way.

(Please note that City Cruises York reserve the right to refuse single sex groups/hen and stag parties)