Who can drive the houseboat?
Any person driving the houseboat must be over the age of 18 and hold a full driver’s license and all maritime regulations must be abided by.
The upstairs helm steering wheel can be used for steering ONLY. The throttle speed is not operational. A driver must be at the controls downstairs at all times while the motors are in motion. Parking the boat at its mooring site MUST be operated from downstairs. We have two CB radios to assist with the communication between the driver upstairs or downstairs when cruising in case the speed needs to be changed downstairs. There are RPM indicators upstairs but no gauge to demonstrate how straight the motors are. We have been advised to decommission the top steering wheel and only use this when we use the houseboat for private use only.
We trust that our clients will respect that a two-story houseboat has its challenges to steer in high winds or busy times of the year with water skiers falling off in front of the houseboat. During these times, it is advised to be driving the houseboat from the downstairs helm. People under 18 years of age and without a car driver’s license should not be operating the houseboat, and children should not be steering the vessel from upstairs at any time.
What are the challenges of hiring a two-story houseboat?
- We advise keeping an eye on the wind forecast, and you can download wind weather apps or google the wind conditions for this location of the Murray River.
- Being a two-story houseboat, the wind will affect the speed of travel and fuel usage if driving into a headwind.
- Parking a two-story houseboat has its challenges, and the driver must be aware not to park too close to gum trees to avoid driving the top story windows into the tree branches. Even when parked close to gum trees and if the wind changes directions, the top story windows may be blown into the gum tree branch.
- We suggest driving the houseboat in the morning if the wind is coming in the afternoon.
- It’s always best to keep a two-story houseboat in the middle of the river if the wind changes direction when driving around the next bend in the river.
How does the water system work on the houseboat?
- We even upgraded the water pump, so it is silent when turning on a tap or flushing the toilet at night to avoid disrupting the other guest’s sleep when the pump is activated.
- You can enjoy endless hot showers as the water is pumped from the river and returns to the river. This is why we are supplying eco-friendly body wash and shampoo/conditioner as we respect the Murray River.
How do I empty the rubbish, and when does the black water need pumping out?
- The free waste disposal stations are listed below. For additional information, please refer to the Murray River pilot for exact locations. Be warned that not every waste disposal station are considered black water:
- Murray Bridge
- Walker Flat
- Swan Reach
- Lock 3
- Lock 6
- Always park the boat sideways to the rubbish disposal station and approach slowly no matter what the wind conditions are at the time.
- This will depend on how many people are on the houseboat?
- Weekend hires will not need to do this.
- For a seven-day hire, the boat may need pumping out on Day Five depending on how many people are on the ship and if the half or full flush toilet has been used.
- For a seven day hire, if the boat starts to smell, it is a clear indication for the houseboat to go to a pump-out station for emptying. Refer to the River Murray Pilot onboard for the exact location of the following waste disposal stations that are free. All recycling and rubbish can be removed.
- No one wants an overflowing toilet on holiday, and this event would lose any bond being returned.
- The blackwater is from the toilets, and the houseboat is using domestic bathrooms instead of marine toilets that use less water. It is best to always flush urine with the half flash or in the morning.
- There are five toilets on board. The washing up and dishwasher go-to black water. The washing machine goes to black water
- We advise keeping an eye on the toilets when flushing to see the level of the black water tanks.
- For more information, please see here the River Vessel Waste Disposal Stations
Is the houseboat childproof?
- Wow Factor has balustrades around and we provide age-appropriate life jackets. We strongly advise parents to set guidelines on safety and comply with strict supervision of their children whenever they are near the water. Wow Houseboats and Wow Factor won’t be accountable for any breach against the safety of everyone on board. Learn more about our Safety Management Plan here.
Can we bring dogs with us?
- Definitely yes! We will be asking the following to ensure the best experience for your and your furry friends:
- Dog breed and size?
- We require you to bring dog essentials including dog towels, beds, and bowls. Please note dog towels should be used to dry your dog regularly and before coming inside. Please do not use bath towels for your dog. We have additional dog towels, beds and bowls for rent should you be unable to bring your own.
- Definitely yes! We will be asking the following to ensure the best experience for your and your furry friends:
How far in advance should I book?
- We require a 6-8 months security deposit; otherwise, the houseboat shall be open to other interested hirer/s.
Where can we buy groceries?
- Murray Bridge has a number of supermarkets, grocers, butchers, and bakeries to choose from (please contact Wow Houseboats for more information and delivery options).
- Wow houseboats can also arrange for premade meals to be available on the boat before departure upon request (please contact Wow Houseboats for more information).
Is there freshwater on board?
- We provide you with plenty of fresh water onboard for drinking.
Do I supply my own ice?
- At the moment, we have Eskys and ice can be purchased from the RiverGlen Marina. In the future, we are purchasing an ice machine to further provide a “wow” experience for your houseboat holiday.
Do I supply my own firewood?
- We provide wood for campfire cooking; provisions for having a fire on the riverbank outside of fire ban season shall apply.
Can I fish from my houseboat?
Will I be charged extra for using the spa?
- No, you will not be charged extra for the spa. If however, you DO NOT wish to use the spa we can remove this from the package and offer a reduced rate off your total booking. ( The Spa will be locked if you chose not to include the spa in your package. )
I want to bring my ski boat / jet ski with me or both; how is the setup of Wow Factor for ski boat/jet ski?
- We love water skiing and have our own ski boat, so the houseboat is undoubtedly designed with water skiing as a significant activity to be enjoyed from sunrise to sunset. Please review the Wow Factor Experience Package Tours and hire your own wakeboard or barefooting pro.
- There are two arms on the side of the boat that are used to tow jet skis or ski boats that have suitable ropes attached with a clip to connect to your boat or jet ski. You can bring two boats or two jet skis or hire them from our partners.
- There are three large buoy’s to protect your ski boat on each side
- Legally, if you want to bring full jerry cans on board, they will need to be stored in your boat or on the bank when you are moored
- When we bring our ski boat on Wow Houseboat holidays, we have so much ski equipment for kids from 4 to adults who are 2XL wetsuits/barefoot suits. The last thing we want is to be falling all over the ski gear during the holiday, so we use the storage lockers provided at the bow of the houseboat so that the ski boat is not overloaded.
- Keep in mind that it is best to have the speed boat on the starboard side (driver’s side of the boat) so the driver can see the boat tied next to the houseboat and avoid any salinity markers that are along the river every few hours.
- The bow port side pontoon locker can store (two wake surfers, two wakeboards, several skis, two kneeboards, an inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP), and a paddle
- The rear starboard pontoon locker can fit (all of the above, apart from longer wake surfers; skis can fit 165cm; many wetsuits and life jackets can be stored)
- Rear esky/cool box
- Once the wetsuits and life jackets are dried, we store them in the stern port side huge coolbox at night, so they are dry for the next day of skiing and don’t blow off the handrails.
- Unfortunately, it is illegal to store fuel on the houseboat.
Rules about storing fuel on a houseboat for a more extended houseboat holiday or fueling jet ski/ski boats?
- It is illegal to store any fuel on any hire/drive houseboat at any time.
- If you bring your boat with jerry cans full of fuel legally, you will need to have these in your boat whilst the houseboat is moving. You can then transfer the fuel to the shoreline when the boat is tied to the river bank.
- Eight empty jerry cans can be supplied and stored between the outdoor motors for those who are looking for a longer houseboat hire or want to bring their own empty jerry can’s to be held in this location (out of sight and out of mind)
- As keen water skiers, we selected to store empty jerry cans in this location, and we will fit a storage bracket to take eight jerry cans between the houseboat outboard motors. The empty jerry cans are then out of sight when the outboard engines are closed, and any smell of empty fuel vapours are at the back of the boat and blowing away even when the covers are down. We thought this would be the safest way to store the empty eight fuel containers when we took longer trips and needed to fuel our own speedboat 100 litres a day. It leaves more room for entertaining and having fun on the rear decks.
- Just keep in mind the outdoor BBQ is above the outboard motors, and it is illegal to have any open flame on a houseboat, including mosquito candles.
- There is a king’s mobile/collapsible trolley that can be used to purchase fuel from local fuel stations and wheel back to the houseboat or ski boat. The trolley is stored in one of the front pontoons and out of the way and can be wheeled all the way onto the boat from the gangplank.
- The jerry cans can also be used for clients bringing their speed boat/jet ski, so there is no need to bring jerry cans.
How much fuel will the houseboat need?
- The houseboat has a 500-litre petrol fuel tank for running the vessel and a diesel tank for the generator. These will always be full when hired out. When the boat is returned, the petrol and diesel tanks will be filled, and the amount used will be taken from the bond provided for the hire. The diesel and petrol fuel will be charged at the rate RiverGlen Marina sells the diesel/petrol to Wow Houseboats.
- The houseboat takes diesel to run the 22kva Omar generator, the largest generator we know of on any hire drive houseboat on the Murray River.
- It is very economical, and on a two week trip from Renmark, we used less than 10 litres a day. We will be recording how much diesel is used for hire/drive so we can provide an average diesel consumption. The diesel is filled on the starboard bow side of the boat and requires a 1m extension piece to be connected to provide the required head of pressure to fill the tanks.