Belfast Lough Sailability
'It's plain sailing by disabled people'
Ever thought that you would like to try sailing or on the water activities but didnít know where to go? Do you have a disability?
Here at Belfast Lough Sailability we are committed to making it possible for people to sail whatever their disability, and exist to give everyone, whether they have a disability or not, the chance to sail, take part in on the water activities and to volunteer. Children and adults with a diverse range of disabilities are able to experience the same exhilaration, enjoyment and confidence enjoyed by able-bodied sailors Ė along with enjoying good company, and making new friends.
If you are reading this and wondering could I do that? Then the answer is yes.
Belfast Lough Sailability provides safe and enjoyable sailing opportunities to people with disabilities interested in experiencing the sport of sailing and/or other on the water activities Ė we cater for those just wanting to have a go right through to those wanting to compete.
Could we do it as a family? Definitely yes!
Belfast Lough Sailability actively encourages all the family to have a go. We recognise the importance of having a recreational activity that is inclusive to all family members and encourage disabled and able-bodied family members to sail together.
Do we need any special equipment or clothing to take part? .. No!
Safety equipment such as lifejackets are provided, along with waterproof clothing if required; the only thing you need to do is make sure you wrap up warm, including a warm coat, hat and gloves, and if it is sunny bring some sun protection such as sun glasses, sun cream and a cap
RYA Sailability was set up by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) to give adults and children with any form of disability the opportunity to take up the sport and learn the skill of sailing.
Belfast Lough Sailability is a non-profit organisation run entirely by a team of dedicated volunteers who assist in the co-ordination of activities as well as enabling prospective disabled sailors to get afloat. It was established in September 2001 and received charitable status in May 2002 and continues to provide inclusive recreational opportunities for families and individuals. We rely on the support of the community and contributions from organisations to raise the necessary funds to purchase essential equipment and boats along with day to day running costs.
Since Belfast Lough Sailability was established, the fleet has been increased from the initial two Squib keelboats to our current fleet of six Access 303 wide dinghies, a Skud 18, a safety boat, a displacement boat, and a Sea Rover
Our aim is to train, educate and encourage more people with disabilities on to the water. We are an RTC Recognised Training Centre and have our own RYA qualified instructors as well as a team of RYA qualified disability awareness trainers who regularly host awareness events to educate those helping or working with disabled persons.
Some of our members, who themselves have disabilities, have gone on to gain coaching awards and are now passing on their skills. One such member is Steve Frecknall, Management Committee Member who is a wheelchair user:
ĎI joined the group back in 2001 and since then Iíve gained my Royal Yachting Association Keel Boat Instructors Certificate and a considerable amount of on the water experience. Itís a great feeling being able to give something back to the sport that has really changed my lifeí.
Belfast Lough Sailability has grown rapidly over the last couple of years and is exceptional in that it provides an activity not only for the disabled individual but for the whole family unit. We offer people who think they canít even get on a boat, let alone sail it, the chance to have a go.