Charities launch new boat
Young people to benefit from sensory stimulation of getting afloat
Two national charities, Young Epilepsy and the Wheelyboat Trust, have launched a brand new accessible powerboat to get young people afloat.
The Coulam Wheelyboat V20 was launched at Weir Wood Reservoir in East Sussex. It will be used by St Piers School and College students, who suffer from epilepsy, autism and other neurological conditions. It’s part of the school’s well-established boating programme in which students benefit from a positive sensory stimulation as well as the pleasure of being on the water. Over 180 students will be able to use the boat, and some will even be able to learn to helm it.
Developed by the Wheelyboat Trust, a charity dedicated to providing people with access to waterborne activities, the purpose-built boat is designed to accommodate the needs of less independent students and has flexible seating, a level deck and a watertight bow door that lowers to form a solid ramp, creating easy access for people who find boarding from an unstable platform challenging. Fitted with a 90hp Suzuki outboard, the boat has a top speed of 30mph.
The Wheelyboat Trust and Young Epilepsy have worked together since July 2015 when seven students from St Piers School and College were able to try out the Coulam Wheelyboat V20 for the first time. St Piers has run a boating program for 28 years, but this new boat will be the first wheelchairaccessible vessel in the school’s fleet.
Scott Baptie, head of physical education at St Piers School, with his predecessor Marcus Frisby, completed a Three Lakes Challenge last year, paddling two open canoes down three lakes in 24 hours, raising £3,500 towards the cost of the Wheelyboat. The Wheelyboat Trust also supported Young Epilepsy by raising 40% of the fully fitted craft’s cost of £41,000.
The Wheelyboat Trust relies on the support of individuals, companies and charitable organisations to fund its activities. Donations can be made at www.wheelyboats.org/donate.html.