Setting off on a Locaboat self-drive boat and living your life at the pace of the waterways and nature, that’s the best way to recharge your batteries, both figuratively and literally! Florence Menguy, Locaboat’s Director of Operations, is more concerned with the literal sense… She explains how to keep current on board!
Twenty years ago, nobody took mobile phones or laptops onto a boat. Today, things are very different, and you have to face the fact that a boat’s crew uses a lot more electricity than it used to. Responding to customer needs, Locaboat has refitted its entire fleet with next generation batteries, called AGMs. These have a much faster charging cycle than traditional batteries. But in order for them to work efficiently, holidaymakers must run the boat for at least four or five hours a day. They work on the same principle as a car battery! Alternatively, you can hook up to a 220 volt supply at the quayside; most docks have water and electricity supplies. All this kind of information can be found in the waterways guide, which you’ll be given before you set off. If you don’t want to go anywhere, all you have to do is run the motor. The main thing is to learn to manage your power usage and to recognise the warning signs. When the lights start to dim, and the fridge or heating begins to labour, that means it’s time to make a move and get your engine going! Fortunately, everything has been thought through. The engine is on a separate electrical circuit from the equipment, which means that it’s still possible to steer and start the engine even if the water heater won’t work. There’s nothing for you to worry about; it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever encounter a major problem, and the boats are very regularly serviced by Locaboat engineers. All you need to do is to get to know your boat. And steer it.