Roger Sutton

Fun, sensory boat trips provided with funding from WightAID

Roger Sutton

Cowes Sailability Club’s Fundraising Officer Trish Rooke (second from left) and Commodore Roger Sutton (centre)

Roger Sutton

During 2023, Cowes Sailability Club arranged exciting motorboat trips for people who are blind or have severe visual impairments.  Organised in conjunction with the charity Sight for Wight, the excursions enabled the island residents to enjoy sensory experiences including tasting salt on their lips, smelling seaweed, hearing the noise of the engine and feeling the wind in their faces.

“Everyone loved the thrill of being on the water!” recalls Susan Earley, Volunteers and Members Manager at Sight for Wight.  “Trips like this are incredibly important as they give people who are visually impaired the opportunity to experience new things and feel a sense freedom.  Going on a boat enables them to feel, hear, smell and even taste the sea, and this helps to improve their mental health and well-being.”

She adds: “Cowes Sailability Club is a wonderful charity, and we would like to thank them for supporting members of Sight for Wight.”

The motorboat trips were made possible thanks to a grant awarded to Cowes Sailability Club by WightAID, a foundation that supports charities on the Isle of Wight.  Cowes Sailability Club received £2,500 from WightAID, which enabled it to organise motorboat trips throughout the year for several local groups like Sight for Wight, as well as disabled people who are club members.

Trish Rooke, Fundraising Officer for Cowes Sailability Club says: “We are incredibly grateful to WightAID for the grant it provided in 2023.  This money enabled us to offer 20 accessible motorboating trips and provide uplifting experiences for more than 180 people with disabilities on the Isle of Wight.”

The trips took place on a wheelchair-accessible motorboat, chartered for the trips by Cowes Sailability Club and owned and operated by Wetwheels Hamble CIC.  Specially designed to cater for people with disabilities, Wetwheels Hamble can accommodate ten passengers, including up to three wheelchairs.