Famous for 15 minutes? As a proud party boat hire company, albeit one with no pretensions or desire for TV fame, we’re not doing badly recently! Recently we have had a lot of requests for boat charter work servicing TV and other media filming and photography requirements.
Essentially of course, though our fleet of four boats are used primarily for private parties, corporate and staff events, team-building events and club nights on the river operated by party promoters, they are still simply great London venues. They just happen to float and also deliver incredible sightseeing, and a backdrop of a moving tapestry of some of London’s most famous and evocative sights. It’s this element of movement, changing scenery, and a dynamic stimulating environment that gives boat hire in London the edge over any static venue offerings.
Over the years we’ve had fashion photo-shoots for Italian Vogue, for the boy-band Westlife, and more. Recently we’ve noticed another peak in this kind of use for our charter fleet. It’s not just active participation though, it seems a few photographers out there have an eye for a handsome boat and we’ve been lucky enough to have become part of the wider vista of an eye-catching London scene for one or two brands.
One or two of our team have passed through Gatwick Airport recently, as I expect a few of our readers may have too. I wonder if you’ve noticed the panoramic photos of London riverscapes near The Shard and London Bridge areas? On more than one of them our London charter boats are featured. This is thanks in part to the fact that we are the only London boat hire company based on the doorstep of the City of London! Our river moorings are outside Old Billingsgate and our ‘home’ pier is Tower Millennium Pier next to both the Tower of London and Tower Bridge: smack bang in the middle of one of the most popular and famous stretches of the River Thames, surrounded by world-famous London sights.
Here’s the big daddy of our fleet, Dutch Master, bobbing proudly in front of Old Billingsgate, as featured on bill boards in Gatwick:
And again with human interest! The human in question being our inimitable Operations Manager (she makes the Dutch Master’s events actually work), Hazel.
As you can see, Dutch Master (or ‘The Dutch’) is a pretty big boat. Indeed, she is one of the very biggest on the River Thames. she takes a maximum of 375 guests, has three floors and is a very popular party boat with the DJ and promoter community.
The Dutch is a handsome and impressive boat certainly. But now onto one of our other vessels with a very different look though equally handsome, some have even said pretty. Sailing Barge Will is a historic ‘Thames sailing barge’, one of a surviving fleet of historic trading vessels that used to ply routes into and out of London carrying cargo such as foodstuffs and fuel. one of the highlights of any will cruise is opening Tower Bridge! With tall masts at nearly 30 metres in height from the water, she’s too lofty to simply glide under the bascules of the famous bridge. This means every time we pass through the bridge we literally stop the traffic in our path.
This brings me onto our next film star – SB Will snapped doing what she does best, getting a salute from Tower Bridge. This image has been made into a poster by Tower Bridge themselves, available in their shop. Buy it here.
Converted inside to be a comfortable and warm traditionally appointed event room, SB Will is perfect for groups of between approximately 10 and 50, she has a charming cosy wooden saloon, a real log burning stove, and is evocative of a time of river-going luxury and charm gone by.
Now onto the moving pictures, our boats on TV and film. Recently our busiest and most popular medium sized river cruiser has featured on two TV programmes. First up, just this week we watched William B play a starring role in Channel 5s Not So Sweet 16, a documentary special following 5 teens about to celebrate their 16th birthdays, usually in some style…though not always! We were lucky enough to get to host the lovely Nelia and liaise with her mother Edite. Nelia hosted her 16th birthday party with a small group of friends on board the William B. A simple cruise through central London with a DJ and fantastic sights from the wide open top deck, gave Nelia a party to remember. Nelia loved the boat as you can see and we were really happy to play a part in that experience. Here’s a snapshot below, and you can see entire programme on Channel 5s browser player.
William B is great for parties and events of all kinds for groups of up to 140. She can seat 120 for seated dinner and is also hugely popular for summer BBQs and our fantastic fun team event of clay pigeon shooting.
Being our busiest boat, William B gets more than her fair share of our 300+ events on the river every year. Likewise, she features twice here too. Back in the summer of 2017 we were chartered by Dom Joly’s (he of massive mobile phone pranks) production company to play a role in a sketch for his online show, Dom Joly’s Trigger Happy. The sketch was entitled Boaty McBoat Tour and I am happy to say that all the bad bits of this particular tour came from Dom himself. William B performed admirably and took Dom’s unsuspecting sightseeing passengers on a classic central London route taking in the sights from her long open top deck. You can confidently charter the boat anytime from us, though we don’t recommend hiring Dom as your guide. We have many slightly more reliable and knowledgeable blue badge guides we’ll be happy to refer you to!
Here’s William B mid-180 Thames manoeuvre in a screen grab. ……. You can watch the whole Boaty McBoat Tour episode here and we feature at various points through the programme.
So now we are in 2018, what will the silver screen bring to the world of Thames Leisure? Well, there are a few things in the pipeline which we’ll update you on when we are allowed! We will also be doing our own little promo film featuring all our boats. They’re ready for their close up!
As a small postscript, we also act as agents for Tall Ships regularly, utilising our specialist knowledge and experience with these fine classic sailing ships. (Check out the Tall Ship fleet coming to London in July 2018 for Sail Royal Greenwich). Last summer we also chartered a wonderful piratey Tall Ship in Portugal for a well-known food brand. Their piratical advert should be airing later this year. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for it and let you know when it’s out!
Oh, and before we say ‘It’s a wrap!”, here’s our fleet’s little cameo on the opening credit’s of this year’s The Apprentice from the BBC:
More silver screen updates as and when!