A CANAL adventure holiday business is excited to be setting sail again after being moored up for almost four months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Family run Andersen Boats in Middlewich is looking forward to welcoming tourists on Saturday.

Staff are busy getting everything shipshape to meet stringent new government safety regulations.

Pauline Andersen, whose husband John and dad Frederick, now 99, founded the company in 1973, said: "We had three boats out when lockdown was announced. Our season had just started and we had to ask customers to turn around and come back.

Winsford Guardian:

The season had just started in March when lockdown was announced and customers had to turn around and come back

"So from November last year until now we've had nothing yet we have still have to pay for licences for boats and moorings."

The business was just recovering from a canal shut down two years ago.

"There was a breach in the canal in Middlewich and we took a big hit and lost bookings," said Pauline. "This has been a double whammy. We're hoping to try and make up another month and carry on until December."

The business was launched by another economic downturn.

"John and dad used to build boats," said Pauline. "In the 70s there was a slump with VAT and they couldn't sell boats so we thought why don't we hire them. We started with two boats and now have 16."

Neil's brother John and sister Jenny Hough also work for the company.

Hailed Best in Britain in 2014, the family attracts visitors from all over the world.

Winsford Guardian:

Canal boating where you can wake up in a different place every day attracts visitors from all over the world

"We have a lot of Norweigans, Scandinavians and people from Germany, America, Australia and New Zealand," said Pauline. "Narrow boats are unique to this country and it is the only place where you have to physically do the locks yourselves which tourists enjoy."

A more intensive cleaning regime has been introduced plus new staggered arrival and embarkation times.

"We are taking every safety precaution following a checklist from the Govermment," said Pauline. "We are going even further."

READ > Property of the week: 11 bedroom guest house could be yours for £524,999

A mock up boat has been created in a spacious workshop to show holidaymakers how to use the toilet, boiler and other mechanics instead of staff showing visitors onboard.

Guests are being asked to provide their own pillows and strip bed linen into special bags for washing before they leave.

Winsford Guardian:

Guests are being asked to provide their own pillows and strip bed linen into special bags to be washed

Every item of crockery and cutlery will be removed and deep cleaned between bookings.

Winsford Guardian:

Every item of crockery and cutlery will be removed and deep cleaned between bookings

"We have got to disinfect and bleach everything," said Pauline. "We have bought steamers to clean all the soft furnishings and curtains.

"There is no need to worry, this is the best holiday ever."