a humble beginning . . . 

The AV Boats story.

This is the story of Viktor Kmec and how AV Boats came to be. This is a story of starting from humble beginnings and working towards your goal. This is a story of how determination, patient hard work and faith can make one mans dreams come true, this is Viktor’s story.

With hopes of one day starting and owning his own Canoe, Kayak and Boat business Viktor Kmec set off with a simple plan, start from the bottom and work your way up. While working at the Beetle & Wedge Boathouse in Moulsford in Oxfordshire, Viktor purchased his first self drive electric engine boat “The Klip” which was a great boat to hire out. The first year was full off trials and tribulations but Viktor persisted and had a very successful year hiring out the Klip to families, couples and anybody that enjoys quiet river cruising.

The following year Viktor purchased two more self drive boats “Klip Senior” and “Klip Junior” but this time opted for the slightly speedier outboard engine, this was due to customer request. I guess some people like a bit of power in their hands.The Klip was now available at the great locations along the Thames river, The beetle and Wedge Boathouse, The Shillingford Bridge Hotel and the Benson Waterfront.

With a great selection of locations at his disposal Viktor rapidly grew AV Boats. But like any crazy entrepreneur mad enough to start a business Viktor knew he had to push the business further along. So with his eyes set on Unit 3 at the Benson waterfront Viktor persisted and got himself a unit he could transform into his dream business. With the help of Chris Smith and Roman Ship, Viktor took the bare unit and started transforming it into a customer friendly space.

Whilst all that building chaos ensued Viktor needed to stock up. During this process Viktor saw a niche as there was nobody supplying Aquarius canoes and kayaks in the UK. So naturally he set off to become the sole UK supplier. AV Boats now boasts a great range of products and a few exclusive ones.

So if you happen to travel down the A4074 towards Oxford stop in at AV Boats by the Benson Waterfront and browse the incredible colletion of products AV Boats has to offer. Or if you are looking for a great day out with your family and friends why not book a boat, kayak or canoe and enjoy what the river Thames has to offer


Frequently Asked Questions.

Always stay within the main river channel and follow all directional arrows. If you stray from the marked channel (e.g. up backwaters or weir streams) you risk running aground and damaging the boat.

Keep to the right hand side of the river whenever it is safe and practical.

Near bridges or sharp bends, boats going upstream must give way to boats coming downstream

Remember even when you have right of way it remains your responsibility to avoid collision.

Always respect the river speed limit of 8kph (about 5mph) over the bed of the river.

Avoid turning your boat near bridges, bends and locks.

Do not turn across the bows of oncoming boats; wait until it is safe.

Always take care when overtaking and keep clear of other boats.

Keep a sharp look out at all times for any hazards, taking action when necessary. If in doubt, slow down or STOP.

Respect warning signs. It is dangerous and illegal to interfere with weir gates and sluices. In an emergency call 999.

Obey River Thames short stay mooring requirements, you can download a helpful fact sheet for more information www.environment-agency.gov.uk/thamesmoorings

Hire boats should not navigate between the hours of sunset and sunrise without permission from the hire boat operator and only if fitted with the correct navigation lights. AV Boats Ltd does not allow navigation after sunset.

During busy periods there is normally Lock Keeper on duty, as you approach the lock check the manning boards, if you see a white board showing “LOCK KEEPER ON DUTY” the lock keeper will call each boat into the lock and he or she will indicate with a gesture to which side you should go.

If you need assistance from the lock keeper, make sure you are on his/her side of the lock.

Please do not let anyone put their hands out of the boat in the lock as fingers can get caught around ropes and squashed between the lock sides and the boat.

Give clear instructions to your crew and make sure that you have turned off the engine key once you are safely moored up.

Listen to any instructions from the lock keeper. Drive slowly, take your time and if necessary just hold on to the chain while you wait for the lock keeper to take the ropes. Make sure your passengers stay seated as they will destabilise the boat if they all stand up at once or on one side of the boat.

If you approach the lock and see a blue board showing “SELF SERVICE” this indicates that the Lock Keeper is unavailable and you will need to operate the lock yourself; therefore secure the boat to the approach moorings and go to the lock side, adjacent to the head and tail gates there is a green control bollard, follow the operating instruction depending whether you are going up or down stream.

We love dogs and well behaved pets are welcome on board but, they are not ideal boating companions! If you would nonetheless like your dog to ride with you, please tell us when booking and you will note a charge of £20 is required

A larger dog must count as one of your party in terms of boat capacity.

Do please ensure that your dog does not scratch the inside of the boat and that any mess arising is cleared up when you disembark.

It is strictly forbidden to allow your dog to swim from the boat. A wet dog will muddy the boat so please do not allow your dog to swim from the bank and then come back on board.

Each boat has mooring spikes and a mallet. You may moor against the bank unless there are signs preventing this or the river is clearly too shallow.

If you are uncertain regarding a mooring ask for advice rather than take any risks. We are here to help and are just a phone call away.

We advise against swimming from the river bank. There are strong currents in places and every year there are swimmers who drown.

Do not use our buoyancy aids outside the boat. They are to be used inside the boat only. So use it only in an emergency.

Swimming from the boat is strictly forbidden. That rule also applies to any dog on board.

Beware of the boats propeller they are sharp and turn quickly.

Propeller accidents can be fatal.

Please arrive at our office at least 15 minutes before your rental period is due to start in order we can   complete the booking details, and fit buoyancy aids if requested (required for children under age 16), show you the workings of the boat and generally look after your safety.

Please ensure you return the boat on time otherwise the next customer will be let down, and you will be charged a hire supplement.

Please make sure you have read the notes for skippers and crew that we provide.

We work hard to enable less able passengers to board and skipper our boats.

Unfortunately our base at Benson Marina does not have an ideal immediate waterfront access due to steps leading down to the jetty. It is therefore sadly very difficult for a wheelchair user to try to board one of our boats.