Conditions of Hire

1. The hirer is responsible at all times for their actions when using or transporting the hired equipment. This includes but is not limited to:
– ensuring equipment is safely and legally secured if being transported by vehicle;
– ensuring compliance with all laws, regulations and guidance when accessing or operating on the water. This includes abiding by the Oban Bay Code of Practice;
– ensuring conditions are and will remain suitable for them and their party to safely use the hired equipment for the duration of their time on the water;
– ensuring they and other members of their group are suitably equipped and experienced for the activity they intend to undertake with the hired equipment.

2. Sea Kayak Oban : Adventures (SKOA) carries out regular checks and maintenance on all equipment. However it is the hirer’s responsibility to ensure the equipment hired is safe for use before launching.

3. Buoyancy aids must be worn at all times when on the water using SKOA equipment.

4. SKOA reserves the right to request evidence of the hirer’s experience, in the form of National Governing Body certification. SKOA reserves the right to reject evidence as insufficient if the qualification is not known to them, is not of sufficient standard, or is not internationally recognised.

5. SKOA reserves the right to refuse hire to any person they believe may not be experienced enough to use the equipment safely. Should the hire have been pre-paid, a full refund will be offered on all equipment refused for hire for this reason, unless we have reason to believe the hirer deliberately misled SKOA regarding their level of experience. No refund will be offered if hire is refused due to the hirer being intoxicated, or if it is believed the hirer deliberately mislead SKOA regarding their experience.

6. The hirer is responsible for any loss of or damage to the equipment while in their care, howsoever caused. The hirer is also responsible for any damage caused to the property of others by their use of the equipment. See overleaf for details of charges to damaged equipment.

7. SKOA reserves the right to refuse hire to anyone intending to transport a kayak via unsuitable means. Roof systems and trailers must be commercially manufactured and fit for purpose. Refunds may not be offered to customers intending to transport kayaks using unsuitable means.

8. Late return of equipment will be charged at £30 per hour or part thereof. No discount will be given for early return of the equipment. On multi-day hires no discount will be given for days when the equipment is not used.

9. Should weather conditions on the day of hire be such that no water-based activity is possible, SKOA reserves the right to refuse all single-day hires. Any pre-paid hires of this type will be fully refunded, or rescheduled if possible. This does not apply to multi-day hires, unless the adverse conditions are set to remain for the full duration of the hire.

10. The hirer must leave an outline plan of their intended journey / destination with SKOA. SKOA does not however undertake responsibility for notifying emergency services in case of late return.

11. A deposit of £100 must be left with SKOA (either in the form of cash via card payment). This will be refunded once the equipment is returned and checked for damage. Damage amounting to more than £100 will be billed in addition to the deposit.

How do we determine item condition?
Excellent: the item has been lightly used. A kayak or paddle might have a few small scratches, clothing or buoyancy aids might have a small mark somewhere, spraydecks will show no sign of wear.
Good: the item shows several signs of use. A kayak or paddle will show scratches from launching or landing, or a knock from a minor impact with rocks. Clothing or buoyancy aids might have some marks, or show evidence of a small amount of rubbing.
Fair: the item has been used but is still fully presentable. Kayaks and paddles will have scratches and dents from regular use. Clothing and buoyancy aids may be faded, or have evidence of rubbing.
Well used: the item shows evidence of being used regularly for a long period of time, but is still fully serviceable. Kayaks will show scratches across most of the hull, including some deeper ones or chips. Paddles will have chips. Spraydecks will have loosened and faded. Clothing and buoyancy aids will be faded.
Damaged: the item cannot be used in its current condition, or has evidently been misused. For kayaks this would include holes in the fabric of the boat, or significant scratches or chips (particularly if these are not on areas associated with launching and landing). Paddles could have a broken blade. Clothing may be torn or zips broken. Buoyancy aids may be missing a strap or have a broken zip. A spraydeck could be torn.

How do we determine charges for damage?
You’re hiring a boat to use it, and we have no problem with this – we’re not counting the scratches in and out, just protecting ourselves against misuse of equipment following a couple of incidents where items have been returned unusable or having been clearly mistreated. We want to be fair, and if something can be fixed we will fix it. If it’s wear and tear, that’s fine – so on occasion we hire out brand new boats, and we know every scratch will stand out. But we know what launching and landing does to a boat, and we know some will indulge in a spot of rockhopping or surfing, and that’s OK. The charges below are not exhaustive.

Damaged or kinked skeg: £30
Missing hatch cover: cost of replacement
Gelcoat chip or scratch requiring repair: £50
Significant damage requiring repair by manufacturer (eg cracked bulkhead, split in fibreglass): cost of repair + £30 for return transport to manufacturer
Paddle, clothing or spraydeck damaged beyond use: cost of repair if repairable by manufacturer, or trade price cost of replacement, + any associated postage (this may be lowered or waived if the item was well used)
Significant deterioration in condition of equipment from “Excellent” or “good” to “well used”: this will be assessed on a case by case basis to reflect the drop in value of the item.
Major non repairable damage to a kayak (this includes scratches in plastic kayaks that penetrate the outer layer): cost of the kayak as it was when hired. The hirer will then effectively own the kayak and be entitled to take it to seek their own repair if they wish.