Booking Terms & Conditions

27/10/20  Please read the following carefully before sending a deposit and completing a Booking Form (and therefore agreeing to a charter). By sending a deposit and Booking Form you are agreeing to these Terms and Conditions.

Payment

A 25% deposit and completed Booking Form is required to confirm your booking with Halton Charters Ltd.

A 75% balance payment falls due 1 month prior to the charter.

The preferred method of payment is by bank transfer. For BACS/online transfer, please get in touch to request bank account details. My preference is not to list these details on an open webpage for security reasons.

Credit Card payments can be accepted through PayPal – please get in touch to request.

Customer’s Responsibilities

There are two ways to book a space: (a) as an individual, (b) as an organiser booking on behalf of a group.

(a) Individuals booking singularly are liable only for their own place. Booking individually is more expensive than as a group spaces but you are only responsible for your own space.

(b) An organiser may charter the whole boat and thereby takes responsibility for all 12 spaces.

Full boat charters are eligible for a 10% discount.

Every person/organiser making a booking on behalf of a passenger or group of passengers confirms that he/she has the authority of that passenger and that each such passenger agrees to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.

A booking will be formalised by completion of a booking form online at the same time as a deposit payment:

www.mvhalton.co.uk/booking

One week prior to arrival, a Covid Form will be completed by each guest:

www.mvhalton.co.uk/covid

If as a group you are unable to honour a full charter and wish to take individual spaces instead then the booking should be altered no less than 10 weeks prior to the start of the charter. If any alteration to the original booking has not been made 10 weeks prior to the charter then the full balance will be payable.

Halton Charters will try their best to fill any additional spaces on you behalf if requested. Please keep me in touch if the group numbers start eroding: given time, I can often fill individual spaces.

Customers have been known, due to unforeseen circumstances, to cancel all or part of their diving holiday. This is not something Halton Charters can be held liable for and as such we recommend you take out holiday insurance which should cover your expenses in this eventuality. Therefore the price of your charter will not be refunded.

Skipper’s Responsibilities

Halton Charters Ltd reserve the right to vary the charter in any way we consider necessary due to adverse weather or any other conditions. Ultimate decisions regarding the safety of the vessel, and those on board rest with the skipper. The skipper will always endeavour to find suitable alternative/sheltered dive sites. Most bookings are for a week so lost dives can usually be caught up with within this time frame.

Charters are now from the Clasina.

The Clasina is fully insured to carry 12 passengers within it’s area of operation. Our insurance does not cover passengers who are away from the vessel or while engaged in diving activities. We do not accept responsibility for loss of, or damage to, passengers gear, property or valuables whilst onboard or in transit. With this in mind please ensure you have adequate holiday insurance cover.

General conditions

The skipper may refuse to carry any passenger or their luggage for any reason relating to the safety of the vessel and it’s passengers.

The skipper also reserves the right to refuse to carry any passenger who contravenes the diving regulations relating to the wrecks of the German Fleet. Halton Charters Ltd operates under a strict “look but don’t touch” policy in Scapa Flow. There will be zero tolerance of any artifacts recovery on the German High Seas Fleet or any other wreck protected under UK legislation.

Where artefact recovery is permissible under UK law, the authorities (ie the Receiver of Wreck) will be notified and the correct protocols followed. Even where permitted, Halton Charters would strongly advise the “look but don’t touch” policy to be adhered to.

If you need any further clarification on these Terms and Conditions then please do not hesitate to contact us. We reserve the right to alter these Terms and Conditions at any time.

COVID factors

The Terms and Conditions have been modified to take into account of anticipated restrictions due to COVID regulations.

When the balance payment falls due a decision will be made: if the charter looks unlikely due to COVID restrictions in place, there is no obligation to pay the balance or, if the balance has already been paid, a refund of the balance will be offered.

The reality will probably be a climate of uncertainty as government regulations have shown themselves to be unclear and not uniform across the UK. In practice, it is anticipated that the due date for balance payment can be moved closer to the charter date so that, if the charter can go ahead, balance can be paid on arrival or not paid if the charter is not possible.

If the boat is under lockdown or the crew under self isolation conditions, a full refund will be offered.

If clients are not able to come due to a restriction in numbers on the boat, a full refund will be offered to those not able to come. Spaces will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served basis’.

Explanation

The Terms and Conditions are set out to provide clarity and to outline the responsibilities each party is agreeing to when signing up to a charter.

Halton Charters operates on the following principle: when you sign up to a charter, you take on the obligation to make two payments, a deposit and a balance. You are strongly advised to take out travel insurance to cover the charter. Your obligation to meeting the two payments does not go away if you are unable to attend the charter.

28/10/20 In response to the present climate and the everchanging COVID restrictions, the principle above has been modified.

A deposit payment is still required to secure a booking.

The date a balance falls due has been moved from 3 months to 1 month prior to a charter.

The obligation to pay the balance has been suspended. At the point the balance is due, we will make an assessment of the situation: if the charter looks unlikely, the balance payment can be defaulted. If the balance has already been paid, a refund will be offered. The most probable eventuality will be payment is deferred until arrival at the boat in the case of an uncertain outlook.

The principle is only modified for circumstance being affected by COVID and associated restrictions. Other factors are covered by travel insurance and remain unchanged.

The change will be reviewed at the end of the year (2020). Bookings will be bound to the conditions in place at the time the deposit was paid.

Halton Charters reacted to the advent of COVID in the 2020 season by breaking with the normal policy of non refundable deposits etc as a courtesy and as a way to maintain a goodwill with guests. This was reciprocated in kind, with groups being amenable to changes that would not ordinarily be accepted. The tolerance, patience and understanding shown by clients was deeply appreciated and has helped the company survive very difficult times.

Moving forward, the world has changed and the consequences of COVID are with us for the foreseeable future. Although unpredictable, the risks of making a booking are now not unknown.

Travel insurance mitigates the risk of something going wrong when booking a charter. Travel insurance will not cover COVID related events which is why the booking terms have been modified. However, travel insurance still works for other eventualities and so the booking modifications apply solely to COVID related eventualities and you are strongly recommended to insure your charter at the time of booking.

This section seeks to define the booking process within this changed world so that clear, simple decisions can be made of the associated financial risks to all parties. The Clasina is a commercial entity with a clearly defined payment process. At each stage there are obligations to all parties with a framework to ensure a successful path to protecting all parties on their way to a charter.

In simple terms, there are 3 variables.

Cancellation by Halton Charters.

If there is a problem with the boat, the booking process or any other glitch that is thrown up by factors within my control, the onus is on me to refund all money paid (including deposit). This would include events such as boat breakdown, double booking etc.

If the boat/crew itself is subject to a local COVID related lockdown/restrictions preventing the charter going ahead, money will be refunded.

Cancellation by you.

When you book the boat you make a promise to honour a sequence of payments in a defined time frame.  A deposit reserves a charter for you and ensures an obligation from me. Up until a deposit is paid, there is no obligation on either party to commit to any course of action.

Deposits are strictly non refundable.

A deposit payment is also a promise to make a second balance payment 1 month before the charter start date.

(Previously the balance was due 3 months prior to the charter. This change is to reflect the unpredictability present in 2020 with changing regulations etc.)

Whether you attend the charter is up to you. The obligation remains with you to make the promised payments.

This obligation has been suspended only in order to react to COVID related events and Government guidelines.

It is strongly recommended that some form of insurance is taken to cover unforeseen eventualities.

Cancellation due to events beyond either of our control.

This would include events outside the control of either party.

Again, some form of travel insurance is strongly recommended.

The reasons for the booking process are fundamentally driven by timing of the expenses incurred by the boat.

The season starts with a boat refit, slip, certification and preparation for the year ahead. The majority of the boat expenses are spent in the first quarter of the year so that, by the time your weeks starts, all the expenses that your charter has incurred have been spent.

In order to mitigate that risk, I take a sequence of payments to minimise my exposure. The difference in cost between a cancelled week and a successfully run charter is minimal which is why your commitment is to a sequence of payments rather than your attendance.

In simple terms I cant “un-paint” the boat or “un-certify it” for your week if you don’t come. You tell me you want to go diving so I spend the money to make that happen.

In a normal world insurance is the best mechanism to cover yourself for a change in circumstance and so Halton Charters strongly recommends that you take out relevant insurance at the time of booking.

Insurance companies have been be very reluctant to cover COVID related eventualities which in turn has changed how clients approach booking a charter. The normal booking process has been modified to reflect this problem and help mitigate the uncertainties anticipated in the coming season.

Halton Charters tries to make the booking process as clean, simple and straightforward as possible with responsibilities and obligations clearly outlined. Where possible, a resolution through dialogue and compromise will be sought: a conversation is always the best route to resolving conflict.