Home > Accessible Travel News > Wheelchair Accessible Boat Launched For Fife Sailability At Lochore

Wheelchair accessible boat launched Lochore

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Sussex-based charity, The Wheelyboat Trust, is supplying a fully accessible, wheelchair-friendly powerboat to Fife Sailability, which is based at Lochore Meadows Outdoor Education Centre at a celebratory launch taking place on Saturday 11th May 2019.

The new powerboat, a Coulam Wheelyboat V20, will allow the Scottish charity Fife Sailability to expand their activities at the Lochore Meadows sailing loch, enabling wheelchair users and people with any kind of impairment to participate in and enjoy the power and pleasure of boating.

Annabelle Ewing MSP will be the guest of honour at the launch, participating in the official Wheelyboat naming ceremony on the 11th May, which will take place at the Lochore Meadows Outdoor Education Centre. “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to have been invited to be guest of honour and participate in the naming ceremony for this new boat” comments Ms Ewing. “Accessibility has been a very important part of the development of Lochore Meadows and this new boat brings that access-for-all ethos onto the water. Well done to everyone at the Wheelyboat Trust and Fife Sailability and I wish everyone involved many happy times aboard.

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Designed by Andrew Wolstenholme and developed by The Wheelyboat Trust and JM Coulam Boatbuilders, the Coulam Wheelyboat V20 is 20 feet long and 7½ feet wide. It has an open, spacious and level cockpit (90² ft), with roll-on, roll-off access via a watertight bow door that lowers to form a ramp. Its drive-from-wheelchair console enables people with the severest of disabilities to drive the boat themselves. Also, seating for ambulant people is flexible and fixing points on the floor secure less-independent wheelchair users in place if required.

Formed in 2012, Fife Sailability is a membership club which also works with Special Educational Needs schools, homes and hospices, as well as disabled individuals and their families from across Fife, Perth and Kinross, The Lothians and Clackmanan. They currently operate a fleet of specially adapted sailing boats for individual use, or with a qualified instructor, but they are operating at full capacity. The new Coulam Wheelyboat V20 has the capacity of ten adults including six wheelchair users, and will also offer every sailor a whole new set of boating experiences and skills to enjoy and learn as part of the nationwide accredited RYA Sailability programme.

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Merrick Yates, Co-Founder and past Chairman of Fife Sailability says: “This Wheelyboat will change everything for participants in Fife. Our Sailability centre has never been busier and our new Wheelyboat will significantly enhance our capability of meeting the needs of the growing number of users who will benefit so much from access to the Scottish waters. Just imagine what it must be like for someone who is dependent on a wheelchair to be driving the Wheelyboat across the loch at 30mph!

The Wheelyboat Trust is dedicated to providing mobility, learning and sensory impaired people of all ages with independent access to water-based activities such as nature watching, pleasure boating, powerboating and angling, via their uniquely designed wheelchair accessible Wheelyboats. To date, the Wheelyboat Trust has supplied 195 accessible boats to lochs, lakes, rivers, canals and reservoirs all over the UK (with some Wheelyboats also located in Europe), and are the only known charity in Europe to do so.

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Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust, says: “For the very first time, Fife Sailability will be able to offer its visitors powerboating tuition and qualifications, including the Royal Yachting Association’s new scheme to encourage disabled people into powerboating - RYA Powerability. This, and the fact that the Wheelyboat’s users will be able to drive themselves and participate as members of the crew, will provide a fantastic opportunity for learning as well as being a great confidence boost.

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Fundraising for the Coulam V20 Wheelyboat was a joint effort by Fife Sailability and The Wheelyboat Trust and it was generously funded by Disability Sport Scotland, The Robertson Trust, Hugh Fraser Foundation, Barcapel Foundation and Tay Charitable Trust. Fife Sailability’s V20 was supplied with Suzuki’s new 100hp outboard (the lightest in its class), which was specifically funded by Spifox. Without the support of these organisations, Fife Sailability getting the V20 would not have been possible.

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The Wheelyboat Trust itself relies on the support of individuals, companies and charitable organisations to fund its activities. Donations can be made in a variety of ways including online at www.wheelyboats.org/donate.html.

To find out more about the Wheelyboat Trust, visit: www.wheelyboats.org

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1.30pm - Guests arrive
2.00pm - Official naming ceremony

Lochore Meadows Outdoor Education Centre
Lochore Lochgelly

Media wishing to attend for filming, photography and interviews should
contact Firebird PR to register.

Media Contacts

Jane Bevan, Firebird Public Relations
T: 01235 835297 / 07977 459 547
E: [email protected]

Available for interview

  • Andy Beadsley – Director, The Wheelyboat Trust
  • Merrick Yates, Co-Founder and past Chairman, Fife Sailability

Notes to Editors

About Fife Sailability

  • Scottish charity Fife Sailability, formed in 2012, works with Special Educational Needs schools and homes, residential care homes, hospices and other charity and community groups as well as disabled individuals and their families. They also provide a service to students from mainstream schools requiring learning support.
  • The group operates a fleet of specially adapted sailing boats and specialist equipment that enables people with any type of disability to participate in sailing on their own, or accompanied by a qualified instructor.
  • Their mission is to help change the lives of people who might feel confined by their disability by making sailing and powerboating accessible to all.
  • To avoid able-bodied siblings feeling left out, we encourage families to take part together.
  • With Fife Sailability, age is no barrier to taking up sailing for the first time, one of their groups ages ranged from 89 to 99 years old.
  • Fife Sailability has a dedicated team of very experienced volunteers who make it all happen and are always looking for new volunteers to help with this most enjoyable and rewarding activity. No sailing experience is necessary as training is provided in all aspects of the club’s activities.
  • The club operates on alternate Saturdays from April to October and they average over 30 service users every session.
  • On club days snacks are provided in the covered picnic area, to encourage social interaction and allow the carers to chill out.
  • Fife Sailability is a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Sailability accredited training centre.
  • For more information, visit Fife Sailability on Facebook or email [email protected]

About The Wheelyboat Trust

  • The Wheelyboat Trust is a registered charity, dedicated to providing mobility impaired people, young and old, with the opportunity and freedom to participate in waterborne activities all over the UK. Its role is to help and encourage venues open to the public to acquire Wheelyboats for their disabled visitors and to help groups and organisations acquire Wheelyboats for their own use.
  • The Wheelyboat Trust was founded in 1984 when it was originally called the Handicapped Anglers Trust. The first Wheelyboat built received its official launch from HRH Prince Charles at Fishmongers' Hall in London. In 2004, the charity was renamed The Wheelyboat Trust to reflect its broader aims and the clear need for Wheelyboats beyond the fishing lake for disabled, elderly and infirm, families and community groups for recreation and sporting pursuits.
  • The Trust has designed 8 different Wheelyboat models since its work began in 1984: Mk I, Mk II, Mk III, Mk IV, Coulam 15, Coulam 16, Coulam Wheelyboat V20 and their latest model Coulam Wheelyboat V17.
  • To date, the Trust has built and supplied 195 vessels across UK and Europe.
  • For more information, visit www.wheelyboats.org

About Coulam Wheelyboat V20 technical details

  • Robust GRP construction
  • LOA 6.2m, beam 2.3m
  • Bow door for roll-on, roll-off access
  • Drive-from-wheelchair remote helm
  • Max 100hp/30mph+
  • 10 people capacity RCD cat D waters, 8 people RCD Cat C waters
  • 8.5sqm open cockpit space wheelchair-accessible throughout
  • Powerboating/pleasure boating/nature watching/angling
  • Inshore waters, large lakes and rivers
  • Also suitable as a workboat/water taxi/safety and rescue

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