Win an amazing wetwheels powerboat experience

Feel the invigorating spray as you take a trip on an accessible powerboat – that also includes an opportunity to take the helm, all from your own wheelchair.

The world of powerboating is opening up to thousands of disabled people in the West Country and beyond with the launch of Wetwheels South West, a £200,000 catamaran in Falmouth, Cornwall and the latest in a fleet of custom built, fully accessible boats.

Helming the vessel for her inaugural voyage around the waters of Falmouth Harbour was 17 year old Fin Allen whose smile said it all: “It was a really unique experience and freeing, actually. I didn’t know this was possible”. It’s great. Being able to drive the boat in your chair is really important to feel comfortable – it helps a lot.” After a safety briefing, donning of life jackets and wheelchairs being secured to the deck, it’s out on the water.

Commodore Jamie Miller CBE DL RN ‘named the boat’ at Falmouth Visitors’ Marina – opening the door to exhilarating waterborne adventures for many people who have never been out to sea or even dreamed it might be possible.

Wetwheels was founded in 2011 by Geoff Holt MBE DL – a lifelong sailor who was paralysed in a swimming accident in 1984 – whose passionate mission has been to give people of all ages, including people with profound disabilities, the opportunity to get out on the water in an exhilarating, safe, stimulating and rewarding way.

Specially designed boats
With the support of donors and partners the, charity provides barrier-free water-based adventures for disabled people on board specially designed boats with specialist staff who ensure each person can share experiences, challenge their self-perceptions, extend their horizons and discover new opportunities.

“This is a very proud moment for me and a testament to the hard work of everyone involved in Wetwheels” says Geoff Holt. “When I founded Wetwheels it was with the aim of making the sea accessible to all disabilities, including those people most excluded. It had to be a highly sensory experience and I designed the boat with a ramp to the wheel so, for a moment in time, anyone with a disability, could be captain of a powerboat. We now have six boats, collectively taking in excess of 7,000 people a year to sea. Only out there does the real magic happen, you leave your disability on the dock and have a truly memorable adventure on the ocean.”

Active
Beneficiaries are active participants, rather than simply passengers, with the opportunity to steer the vessel and learn seamanship, alongside their peers, friends, and families. The experience is truly inclusive helping to improve aspirations and increase confidence.

The Falmouth based Wetwheels South West is the latest of six vessels based around the coast. She was funded in part by private donors but mostly by Sport England who have recognised the innovative work Wetwheels is doing to get disabled people active, particularly those with more complex needs.

Strategic Lead for Disability at Sport England, Adam Blaze, says: “National Lottery players raise £30 million every week for good causes in the UK, and it is this funding that has made our unique partnership with the Wetwheels Foundation to get more disabled people active through life changing experiences on the sea possible. Fully accessible powerboats mean everyone can be active in a fun and safe way, learn new skills and become more confident.”

Anyone wishing to learn more about Wetwheels, their work, fundraising or how to participate should visit: 

www.wetwheelsfoundation.org

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