News & Media

Assynt Crofters’ Trust launch a Coulam 16

This year is the 25th anniversary of the Assynt Crofters’ Trust taking ownership of the beautiful North Assynt Estate in the highlands of Scotland comprising of 21,300 acres with over 200 lochs. As part of a week-long celebration, ACT launched their new Coulam 16 Wheelyboat on Loch Drumbeg. The lochs are only accessible to the fit and able-bodied and therefore ACT is launching their new Wheelyboat to be able to offer all their visitors, regardless of age or ability, the opportunity to fish and watch wildlife in this stunning setting.


The fully accessible Coulam 16 Wheelyboat was launched on Saturday 30 June, as part of a day’s fishing competition for all anglers to be involved in, either on shore, or on the boat. The purpose-built fishing boat is ingeniously modified for wheelchair access and is an essential facility on larger waters. This project is an important development as it creates opportunities for mobility impaired anglers in a remote and pristine environment fishing for wild brown trout.  Anglers will not be the only beneficiaries, however, as the Wheelyboat will also play an important role as an accessible boat for wildlife tourism.


This joint project between ACT and The Wheelyboat Trust would not have been possible without the fundraising efforts of both charities. The Wheelyboat Trust contributed almost half of the total funds and provided a total of £5,000 from grants raised from Anne Duchess of Westminster’s Charity, Christina Mary Hendrie Charitable Trust, Mr J Collins, Mrs J Howman, JTH Charitable Trust, Lord Leverhulme’s Charitable Trust, Souter Charitable Trust, Sylvia Aitken Charitable Trust and Mr K Williams.  ACT raised their contribution from Assynt Fly Fishing, Living the Dream, Pudding Boy Productions, Scottish Hydro Electric and Scottish Water.


HRH The Princess Royal declares ‘Susan Mary’ formally launched

Following the official handover of a Coulam Wheelyboat V20 to Lymington Sailability at 2017’s Southampton Boat Show, HRH The Princess Royal in her capacity as President of the Royal Yachting Association formally declared the Wheelyboat launched.  The ceremony took place at the Pebble Beech Restaurant, Barton on Sea, on 11 May.  Guests included Lymington Sailability members and supporters, local Councillors, project donors and representatives from RYA Sailability.





Papercourt Sailability Mk III Wheelyboat launch

Cllr Mike Parsons, Mayor of Guildford, was guest of honour at the launch of Papercourt Sailability’s new Wheelyboat on 15 June.


Papercourt Sailing Club is organised with passion by the members for the members.  The club is an RYA Champion Club, a recognised RYA Training Centre and the club was the UK’s RYA Sailing Club of the Year, as well as being a Sailability Foundation Status club. Their programmes are accessible to all abilities and ages from their vibrant youth programme, which has over 150 children, to their adult training programme. All are welcome to join the Club either as a non-sailing individual or family, or without owning a boat, learn to sail at very reasonable cost, and get friendly advice about which boat to buy, with first class facilities and a wonderful safe environment in which to learn and sail. There are already six Access dinghies, designed so that they will not capsize, and these will now be complemented by the new Wheelyboat offering a different type of fully accessible boat in the fleet.


For more information about the Sailability programme at Papercourt, email


Many thanks to Peter Snow for providing us with photos of the launch.


Coulam 16 Wheelyboat launched on Llyn Brenig

Brenig is Welsh Water’s jewel in the crown of fisheries in North Wales attracting anglers from all over the UK but its location is particularly well-suited to anglers from Wales and the north west.  It is a stocked trout fishery renowned for its hard fighting rainbow trout that are grown on in the lake.  It is a large expanse of water with 14 miles of bank, none of which is accessible to disabled anglers who are therefore totally reliant on a Wheelyboat.  Brenig has operated a Wheelyboat continuously since 1989.  The first one was replaced in 2004 with a Mk II model and this is now having to be retired after 13 years of sterling service.

The Coulam 16 Wheelyboat joins a large fleet of standard Coulam boats and it looks and performs identically.  Its two predecessors have been aluminium craft with bow doors that lower to form a ramp and as such some disabled anglers felt self-conscious using them.  Having an accessible boat with identical capability to the rest of the fleet is important for the self-esteem of its users.  Also, disabled anglers who fish Brenig’s competitions will now be able to do so entirely on equal terms with their able-bodied counterparts.


The launch took place on 8 June and Terry Evans, regular Wheelyboat user at Brenig, formally declared the Wheelyboat launched.


We are very grateful to Lord Leverhulme’s Charitable Trust for helping us fund this project.


To book the Wheelyboat for a day’s fishing on Brenig, telephone 01490 420463.



Mountain Ash Fly Fishers’ Coulam 16 Wheelyboat launched on Penderyn Reservoir

Mountain Ash Fly Fishers Association is a fly-fishing club based in the Cynon Valley in South Wales.  It was formed in 1958 and leases Penderyn Reservoir which it operates as a day ticket water for rainbow trout.  In recent years MAFFA has made a concerted effort to improve the facilities there, particularly for disabled anglers, including improvements to pathways, parking, and accessible casting platforms. These new and updated facilities enable schools, groups and organisations such as the local Scouts to try fishing for themselves. The Wheelyboat project is the final element that has transformed the reservoir into a fully accessible fishery for all to enjoy.  Also benefitting from the new Wheelyboat will be members of the Welsh Disabled Fly Fishing Team who come to Penderyn to practice.

The Wheelyboat project cost a total of £10,882.  Huge thanks to the project’s donors: Natural Resources Wales, Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust, Sport Wales and Pen-y-Cymoedd Community Fund.


To book the Wheelyboat, telephone 07547 868862.



Local Solutions launch V20 in Liverpool docks

A Coulam Wheelyboat V20 was launched by not-for-profit charity Local Solutions at their Liverpool Watersports Centre on 12 April.  It is the first fully accessible powerboat at the centre, strengthening existing provisions for people with disabilities.


The Wheelyboat was officially launched by Lady Maureen Massie and is named ‘Sir Bert Massie’ after the renowned disability rights campaigner and long standing trustee of Local Solutions.   Also in attendance was the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, Mr Mark Blundell, and local Councillor Pam Thomas, Cabinet Member for Inclusive and Accessible City of Liverpool City Council.


Local Solutions’ Watersports Centre is in the process of developing its facilities specifically for people with disabilities to boost well-being, self-esteem and skills. The combined successful fundraising of £33,220 by Local Solutions and The Wheelyboat Trust with the support from Sport England for the new Wheelyboat has allowed the thriving centre to enrich the lives of their learning, sensory and mobility-impaired visitors with this new roll-on, roll-off accessible powerboat, which will enable them to enjoy the excitement of water sports without the need to leave their wheelchairs.


Local Solutions prides itself in being a thriving centre delivering services to support individuals, families and communities with a primary focus on those experiencing disadvantage, exclusion and vulnerability. The special features of the Wheelyboat will provide users with mobility impairments with new skillsets, as disabled users will be able to learn to operate the boat themselves, as well as achieving accredited watersports qualifications.  To find out more about the availability of the Wheelyboat telephone the watersports centre on 0151 708 9322 or go to


Caldecotte Xperience’s V20 launch

Caldecotte Xperience in Milton Keynes launched their Coulam Wheelyboat V20 on 15 March, the first fully accessible power boat to operate at this outdoor activity centre.  The new boat was aptly named ‘The Wheel of Opportunity’ in a competition won by local school, Great Linford Primary.


The Wheelyboat Trust’s and Action4Youth’s partnership started in 2015 when an instructor from Caldecotte Xperience saw a V20 being towed along the M1.  The instructor realised this might be the perfect vessel to fill a significant gap in provision for mobility impaired people at the centre.  After Googling the model name, the instructor contacted The Wheelyboat Trust who arranged to visit with their demonstrator for a trial run.  The V20 seen on the M1 was being towed by boatbuilder, Jim Coulam, on its way to the Southampton Boat Show.  This twist of fate led The Wheelyboat Trust and Action4Youth working together to fund the Coulam Wheelyboat V20.  The total cost of the project was £41,000 for features including folding bench seating, wheelchair anchorage for the helmsman’s seat, and a 4-wheel braked trailer, with the Wheelyboat Trust raising £10,500 towards the overall cost. Caldecotte Xperience can now enrich the lives of their learning, sensory and mobility impaired visitors with this new roll-on, roll-off access power boat, which will enable them to enjoy the excitement of water sports, without the need for them to leave their wheelchairs.


For enquiries telephone 01908 232042 or visit

Cotswold Boatmobility’s ‘Zephyrus’

Cotswold Boatmobility have launched their Mk III Wheelyboat named Zephyrus at Ebley Mill on the Stroudwater Canal, Stroud.  The Wheelyboat joins a small fleet of katakanus that enable disabled people, young and old, to get out on the water paddling the ‘kanus or driving the electric-powered Wheelyboat.  For more info contact Jan Thomas on 07702 134957.

Wilts & Berks Canal Trust’s ‘The Mary Archard’

A recently restored section of the Wilts & Berks now has its own Mk III Wheelyboat operating for the benefit of disabled people.  The 1km section at Pewsham Locks near Chippenham is open for the first time in 100 years thanks to the hard work of the WBCT.  Its tranquil setting amid fields and woods can be enjoyed by people with mobility impairments, their friends and families on trips organised by the trust.  For more info contact Dave Maloney on 07809 374 754 or

First V20 Wheelyboat to operate in the Solent handed over to Lymington Sailability

Following a highly successful fundraising campaign, Lymington Sailability officially received their Coulam Wheelyboat V20 from The Wheelyboat Trust at the prestigious Southampton Boat Show.  It is the first V20 to operate in the Solent.


For the last 21 years, Lymington Sailability has been transforming the lives of disabled people in Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire through enabling them to participate in water based activities. Working with Special Educational Needs schools, charities and community groups, they offer accessible sailing and powerboating for people who might feel confined by their disability. The charity was attracted to the Coulam Wheelyboat V20, as they needed a boat that could accommodate large groups of people and satisfy the growing interest in accessible boat trips.

(Photo Hannah Thomas of Mindworks)


Tom Morton, the Vice-Chairman of Lymington Sailability said: “Having first discovered the Wheelyboat Trust at the Southampton Boat Show a couple of years ago, we booked the Coulam Wheelyboat V20 for a demonstration in our local waters at Lymington.


“The Trustees were absolutely delighted with what it could offer, which then led us to work with The Wheelyboat Trust to raise the funds to make this important addition to our charity. We can now accommodate so many more people and give them access to the water and the great enjoyment that can bring.”


Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust says, “We are delighted to be to be handing over their Wheelyboat to Lymington Sailability - the large capacity of the Coulam Wheelyboat V20, offering space for up to ten adults including six wheelchair users, made it the obvious choice for them.”


The Wheelyboat Trust exhibits at the Southampton Boat Show every year as guests of its principal outboard supplier, Suzuki GB.  Lymington Sailability’s V20 is powered by one of Suzuki’s lightweight and fuel-efficient 90hp four stroke outboard motors enabling it to reach speeds of 30mph.


RYA’s new powerboating scheme, Powerability, launched at the Southampton Boat Show

The Wheelyboat Trust is delighted to be working alongside the Royal Yachting Association which has launched a new disabled boating certification scheme - Powerability.


For over 30 years the Trust has been making boating accessible for disabled people through its specially designed Wheelyboats. However, Powerability is an important milestone in further broadening accessibility, as for the first time disabled people will be able to undertake recognised RYA training and acquire specially developed certification in powerboat skippering.


Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust says, “We are excited to witness the launch of the RYA’s new Powerability Scheme. Through our UK wide network of Wheelyboats, that we have established over the last three decades, we will be able to support the RYA in its roll-out of this important scheme to the large number of organisations operating Wheelyboats across the UK.


“This scheme, as well as highlighting our purpose-built powerboat, the Coulam Wheelyboat V20, to activity centres and Sailability groups across the UK, will have a very positive impact on the involvement of disabled individuals in water-based activities.  Having a berth at the Southampton Boat Show is a fantastic opportunity that allows us to raise awareness about our cause and encourage everyone and anyone to get out on the water.”


Joff McGill, RYA Sailability Manager says: “This fantastic scheme will provide many disabled people the opportunity to develop their powerboating skills and track their progress. The scheme dovetails into the internationally recognised RYA training schemes and is a great stepping stone that increases accessibility.”


For more information about Powerability, contact Joff at



Mk III Wheelyboat connects two Yorkshire villages for the first time since 1952

Nun Monkton is a little no-through-road village, which terminates at the beautiful confluence of the Rivers Nidd and Ouse.  The Ouse is navigable for a further 20 miles and river traffic would once have played an important part in village life there.

In fact, until 1952, a small passenger ferry was operated from the ‘Ferryfield’, close to the Wheelyboat’s new pontoon, and a ferryman was permanently accommodated in a cottage close by.  Villagers wanting to cross would ring a loud hand bell from the water’s edge to call the ferryman (a great grandfather of one of today’s villagers!).  Since its delivery in August, a Mk III Wheelyboat, has reconnected the communities of Nun Monkton and Beningborough, opening access to the many walks and cycle paths available on both sides of the Ouse. The ferryboat can carry up to 7 passengers with a skipper. Dogs are welcome and travel free. The journey across the river takes about 2 minutes.



Coulam Wheelyboat V20 ‘James Male’ for QE2 Activity Centre

QE2 Activity Centre’s Coulam Wheelyboat V20 has been launched on the River Hamble at Bursledon providing the centre’s disabled visitors with access to activities, such as nature watching, pleasure boating and powerboating.


Charles Reed, Chair of the English Federation of Disability Sport, was guest of honour. He said “EFDS is delighted to support this new opportunity in Hampshire which will enable more disabled people to be and stay active. The organisers have worked tirelessly to raise funds and ensure more people can have memorable experiences on the water. We hope lots more people enjoy the opportunity over the coming years.”


The event was also attended by the many donors who supported the fundraising activities, including Graham and Lorraine Male, parents of one of the crewmen on the foundered Cheeki Rafiki yacht, who raised almost £13,000 of funding towards the cost of the Wheelyboat in memory of their son James.

Every year at the QE2 Activity Centre thousands of people with additional needs are able to access the River Hamble on kayaks, canoes, rafts and pontoon boat. The centre also offers multiple activities in the Hampshire Country Council 400-acre park, including archery, climbing, zip-wiring, bush-craft and orienteering. The Coulam Wheelyboat V20 will enable the centre to train disabled people how to helm and crew a motor boat and it will substantially increase the number of people enjoying powerboating trips, as the craft can accommodate up to 10 adults, including 6 wheelchair users.

Graham Male, father of James, said “At 22 years old, James achieved more than most would in a lifetime. Those who met him know that he was extremely popular, a real people person, with an infectious smile and the most likeable, selfless guy. When the opportunity came up to do something positive to recognise James, the QE2 Activity Centre was the perfect charity to support to give something back to others. James loved all types of outdoor sports, but he would have particularly loved seeing everyone on the water enjoying activities the way he did. James would have been proud to be a part of the QE2 Activity Centre and overwhelmed by all the good work it achieves for disabled adults and children. It is an honour to be able to leave such a fantastic legacy for him.”


The Wheelyboat Trust and QE2 Activity Centre are very grateful to the charitable trusts who also contributed so generously to the project. They are: Henry Smith Charity, Bruce Wake Charitable Trust, Hedley Foundation, Bernard Sunley Charitable Trust, Sterry Family Foundation and Dixie Rose Findlay Charitable Trust.


Phil Oates, Manager of QE2 Activity Centre said “This is a great addition to the Centre’s fleet and will bring a lot of pleasure to a lot of people. I’m very proud that Graham and Lorraine have chosen to support QE2 Activity Centre in memory of James and very grateful to all who supported the Males and the Wheelyboat Trust to make it happen.”


More articles on Wheelyboats and the work of the Trust

Articles on the Trust feature in On Track magazine and Good Neighbours News.  Click on the links to view.


Coulam Wheelyboat V20 ‘Awe & Wonder’ for Young Epilepsy

The Wheelyboat Trust and Young Epilepsy launched an accessible powerboat named ‘Awe & Wonder’ at Weir Wood Reservoir in East Sussex, where it will be used as part of St Piers School and College physical education programme. Over 180 students, all of whom have learning difficulties related to epilepsy, autism and other neurological conditions, will benefit from the sensory stimulation and pleasure of being on the water.


The launch took place on 23 June and saw the first students enjoy a trip on the boat in the presence of the many donors who supported the project.  Also attending was Jess Cook, National Partnerships Advisor at The English Federation of Disability Sport.


The Wheelyboat Trust and Young Epilepsy have worked together since July 2015 when seven students from St Piers School and College, which are both run by Young Epilepsy, were able to try out the Coulam Wheelyboat V20 for the first time. The trial run showed the PE department staff how straightforward the purpose-build boat is to accommodate their less-independent students.


The St Piers School and College PE department takes pride in being fully inclusive and offering the same opportunities to all students regardless of ability. St Piers have run a boating programme for 28 years but this new boat will be the first wheelchair-accessible powerboat in the school’s fleet, extending the programme to more varied and adventurous waters around the UK and overseas.


Enabling St Piers students to enjoy fast but safe trips on the water, the V20 will also allow them to learn how to drive a powerboat and it will support the delivery of The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme as well as benefit other local special needs schools that participate in the boating programme.


Paul Keenleyside, Director of Education at Young Epilepsy says, “Young Epilepsy is very pleased to accept the Coulam Wheelyboat V20 donated to us. This boat offers each young person at Young Epilepsy amazing opportunities to embrace the outdoors and take part in adventurous activities on the water. The Wheelyboat will not only broaden our young people’s horizons, but also encourage them to experience new physical activities and enrich their lives through adventure and challenge. We have had the most fantastic support from The Wheelyboat Trust and our charitable donors who have made this possible. I am confident that our young people will be benefitting from their generosity for years to come.”


As part of the extensive fundraising activities, 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, which was £41,000. The Trust also provided its V20 demonstrator as a safety boat for the Young Epilepsy Swimathon in October 2015, where the students raised £9,000.


Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust says, “We are very pleased to see the launch of the first wheelchair accessible boat in St Piers School and College fleet of boats. Our aim is to allow as many people as possible to enjoy taking part in waterborne activities and this project with Young Epilepsy will directly benefit those that have the most complex and limiting health needs. This is the 183rd Wheelyboat launch for us and we believe that the new Coulam Wheelyboat V20 will help the school’s boating programme become even more successful.”



Fisheries take delivery of Coulam 16 Wheelyboats

As the new trout fishing season got underway, Draycote Reservoir in Warwickshire and Linlithgow Loch in West Lothian each took delivery of a Coulam 16 Wheelyboat.


Sean Hanlon of Draycote Fly-Fishers sprays the bubbly to celebrate the Wheelyboat’s launch.


An established trout fishery for many years, Draycote Reservoir is a 600-acre lowland reservoir near Rugby famous for its buzzer hatches and large grown-on brown and rainbow trout.   It’s new Wheelyboat was launched following a successful fundraising campaign led by a member of Draycote Fly-Fishers Association.


There has been a Mk I Wheelyboat operating on Linlithgow Loch since 1995 but it is now showing signs of its age and needed to be replaced.  The Coulam 16 Wheelyboat is a substantial improvement on its design and is a genuinely dual-purpose craft – anyone can use it, mobility impaired or not.  Linlithgow Loch is run by the Forth Area Federation of Anglers.  Its secretary, Andy McAlpine, said “I would like to thank all the funders for donating to such a worthwhile cause that will enable disabled anglers to enjoy a pleasure the rest of us take for granted.  The old Wheelyboat was donated by the Bank of Scotland 21 years ago and if we get the same use from the new Wheelyboat we will be well satisfied.  The old Wheelyboat will be given to another organisation with a small loch”.  Linlithgow’s Wheelyboat was supplied with a Suzuki DF8AEL.  It’s the perfect outboard for the Coulam 16 Wheelyboat and it’s push button start makes it very easy for disabled anglers to use.


For more information visit or


Linlithgow Palace makes a stunning backdrop to the fishing on the loch.



Latest articles on Wheelyboats and the work of the Trust

Articles have been published in November’s issue of Sussex Living and December’s issue of Waterways World.  Click on the links to download.


Prior’s Court Foundation launches Coulam Wheelyboat V20 at Burghfield Sailing Club

Eighty students and young adults severely challenged by their autism will benefit from a brand new accessible boat helping them learn new skills and enjoy being active outdoors on an RYA Sailability programme at Burghfield Sailing Club near Reading.  The new Coulam Wheelyboat V20 was launched on 25 October as a joint initiative between Prior’s Court, a Berkshire based charity supporting and improving life chances for people with autism, and Burghfield Sailability.


Prior’s Court students have been participating in the Sailability programme at Burghfield Sailing Club for the past 10 years, however with only one accessible boat available to share between several organisations this meant that only eight of their students  were able to take part in sailing and boating. The new Coulam Wheelyboat V20 accommodates up to ten adults, including six wheelchair users, and with its inherent stability makes it a fantastic asset to increase the boating opportunities for Prior’s Court students who have learning difficulties and other very complex needs.


Able to reach a top speed of 30mph with a 90hp Suzuki outboard, the V20 will provide new and more exciting sensory activities for young people with autism, benefitting their overall health and well-being.  Enabling Prior’s Court students to enjoy boating on a weekly basis, the V20 will also allow the students to participate in the Sailability Achievement Scheme where they can work towards Certificates of Achievement as their knowledge and skills develop.


Cara Brandi, Head of Fundraising at Prior’s Court said, “The new Wheelyboat will have huge benefits for all of the children and young adults at Prior’s Court and will now enable those with even the most challenging needs to participate and benefit from Sailability on a regular basis, building confidence and new skills.”


The Coulam Wheelyboat V20 was purchased with donations raised by Prior’s Court in partnership with The Wheelyboat Trust and Burghfield Sailing Club who will operate the boat.  When the new boat is not being used by Prior’s Court students, it will be available for the benefit of other groups who also participate in the Burghfield Sailability programme, making sure the wider local community can benefit from the new addition to the fleet.


David Martin, Chair of the Burghfield Sailability programme, said, “We are very excited about the new Coulam Wheelyboat V20 as it is the first wheelchair accessible power boat in our fleet.  We work with up to 50 clients plus their carers each week and this new addition means we can increase our capacity for Prior’s Court and others as well as offer the entirely new experience of powerboating for wheelchair users and others who find boarding from floating pontoons difficult.”



Wheelyboat dream comes true in the Peak District

On 20 October two Derbyshire women with six children between them, three of whom have disabilities, and an unrelenting drive to make the most of life celebrated as their dream of a wheelchair accessible boat on Ladybower Reservoir came true.  As a result of a joint project between Accessible Derbyshire, a charity set up by Gillian Scotford and Jane Carver with the aim to improve the lives of disabled people in Derbyshire, and Ladybower Fisheries, a new Coulam 16 Wheelyboat was launched making the reservoir accessible for all.


The Coulam 16 Wheelyboat is a popular reservoir fishing boat designed by The Wheelyboat Trust.  The national charity supported Accessible Derbyshire and Ladybower Fisheries by raising 50% of the craft’s cost (£10,500 including outboard).  The unique design features of the boat are not immediately obvious.  Wheelchair users board the Coulam 16 Wheelyboat via a ramp from bank or pontoon onto a hydraulic platform that lowers to deck level.  Removable handrails around the platform help keep the angler safe while boarding and disembarking and means only one able-bodied helper is required to assist.


Gillian Scotford said, “We are just approaching the end of our two-year challenge to make the Peak District National Park the most accessible national park in the UK and the Wheelyboat launch is very special to us.  We want everyone to be able to enjoy the great outdoors and one of the first things we dreamed about was to buy a Wheelyboat for Ladybower as it is such a beautiful place.  To have achieved this dream is absolutely fantastic and we are so excited to launch the boat.”


Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust, said, “We are so delighted to see this Wheelyboat launched at the Ladybower Reservoir because we know how much Accessible Derbyshire and Ladybower Fisheries wanted to make this happen for their disabled anglers.  Our grateful thanks also extend to Lord Leverhulme’s Charitable Trust for their grant towards the Wheelyboat.”



Award-winning Woolverstone Project launches Coulam Wheelyboat V20, its first wheelchair accessible boat

On 3 October a brand new Coulam Wheelyboat V20 was launched by the Woolverstone Project in Suffolk to become the first wheelchair-accessible craft in the charity’s large fleet of adapted boats.  The V20, designed and partly funded by The Wheelyboat Trust, accommodates up to six wheelchairs and even enables wheelchair users to drive the boat themselves, making it a fantastic new asset for the project that focuses on providing sailing opportunities and tuition to those with disabilities.


With the required funds raised in just one year, it is clear that the Wheelyboat, which is able to reach a top speed of 30mph with a 90hp Suzuki outboard, will be in great demand.  Apart from pleasure trips, as an RYA Recognised Training Centre the Woolverstone Project will be able for the first time to offer disabled people the opportunity to attain qualifications such as Powerboat level 1 and 2 certificates and Powerboat Instructor.


The plans however do not stop there.  Being the only Wheelyboat in Suffolk, the craft will be used to benefit a much wider range of community groups across Suffolk, Essex and South Norfolk.  Providing as many disabled people as possible with the opportunity and freedom to participate in waterborne activities is the main aim of both The Wheelyboat Trust and the Woolverstone Project.


The unique design of the Coulam Wheelyboat V20 with flexible seating, level deck and, most importantly, a watertight bow door that lowers to form a ramp means easy access not only for wheelchair users but anyone with impaired mobility, young and old.


The Patron of the Woolverstone Project, broadcaster Paul Heiney said, “I have been lucky enough to sail for most of my life and so I know the deep sense of freedom that comes from being on the water and the satisfaction it gives.  That’s why I support the Woolverstone Project because I believe that kind of experience should be for everyone to enjoy irrespective of the hurdles that might be in the way.”


Already recognised in 2003 by the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award for their services to the community through the voluntary work in providing sailing facilities to people with all forms of disabilities, the Woolverstone Project is set to grow even further.  They currently run over 260 sailing sessions each year and the new addition to their fleet is expected to push this number significantly higher.


John Wilkinson, Chair of Trustees of the Woolverstone Project, said, “The Coulam Wheelyboat V20 was simply the perfect choice for us.  The boat offers exactly what we were missing in our fleet and we can now provide new opportunities for people with disabilities to experience the freedom and joy of being out on the water.”



Randers Naturcenter launches Coulam Wheelyboat V20

On 20 August, a Coulam Wheelyboat V20 officially joined the fleet of trip boats, including two Mk III Wheelyboats launched in 2012, at Randers Naturcenter in Denmark.  Randers is a town in Jutland on the River Gudenå.  The NaturCenter is owned and run by the Municipality and is an educational and recreational resource for the town.  It is surrounded by hundreds of acres of wetland, formerly farmland that has recently been returned to its natural state.  The V20 will operate on the river at the Naturcenter and downstream in the tidal fjord and out into the estuary where its 100hp outboard will offer more adventurous and exhilarating boating activity.  The V20 was funded by the Aage V Jensens Naturfond, a conservation charity.  The boat’s name ‘Lappedykkeren’ is Danish for The Grebe. Click to see video


Mk III Wheelyboat launched by Sailing 4 Disabled Rowing Pirates

Sailing 4 Disabled Rowing Pirates is a very busy group that organises accessible rowing and boating on the Hereford & Gloucester canal at Over Basin, Gloucester.  They have been trialling a Mk III Wheelyboat for some time and on 7 July they launched their own with Gloucester’s Mayor, Cllr Neil Hampson, officiating.  The Wheelyboat is powered by a 2kw Torqeedo outboard and its drive-from-wheelchair console ensures that people with the severest disabilities can experience driving the boat themselves.  The Wheelyboat was supplied with the help of grants from the CLA Charitable Trust, CHK Charities Ltd and Pete Bisson.


Quay Watermen’s Association launches new river boat service with two Coulam Wheelyboat V20s

Two V20 Wheelyboats launched on 4 June are going to play a key role in putting Connah’s Quay on the River Dee Estuary at the top of the list of must see places in North Wales.  What was once a prosperous port and boat building hub is due to be revived, as The Quay Watermen’s Association carries out an ambitious restoration plan.  Honouring the area’s rich maritime heritage, the boats have been named ‘Kathleen’ and ‘May’ after the famous three-masted topsail schooner of that name which was built in Connah’s Quay.  Guest of honour, cracking the champagne over the boats was Carl Sargeant, Welsh Assembly Member for Alyn and Deeside.


The keen members of the Quay Watermen’s Association want to share their passion for boats and the river and endeavour to provide local people of all ages and abilities with access to the tidal River Dee – something that has not been available for many years.  The Association secured a £192,000 grant from the Big Lottery’s Coastal Communities Fund in July 2015 and has already used part of the sum to fund the refurbishment of a disused sea cadets’ building into a new community centre.


But the vision is even greater, and this year almost £70,000 of the grant was dedicated to acquire the two new Wheelyboats.  The specially designed boats, which offer safe and easy access for the disabled, young and old, were the Association’s first choice.  Reaching speeds of over 30mph, the Wheelyboats will be used on trips for schools, photography groups, birdwatchers and any other interested individuals or groups.

The Quay Watermen’s Association hopes to keep alive the history of the area and envisages a permanent heritage exhibition in its new Kathleen and May Community Centre.  While plans for the future exhibition are not yet finalised, a live commentary pointing out the various sites of interest along the river is already in place for the first passengers on the new Wheelyboats.  The Association will offer 20 minute ‘taster’ trips, 90 minute longer trips upstream to Chester Weir and individually tailored charters.


Later in the year the operation will include trips downstream into the estuary where passengers can experience the tranquillity of an internationally important bird reserve and relive ancient battles as they cruise past Flint castle.  Among the many benefits the project will bring to the region, three jobs have been created already, and the growth in visitor numbers is expected to be a welcome boost to the wider local economy. Click to see video 1, Click to see video 2


New Mk III Wheelyboat for Airdrie & District Angling Club

Airdrie & District Angling Club have taken delivery of a new Mk III Wheelyboat for trout fishing on Hillend Reservoir.  The Mk III replaces the Mk II Wheelyboat in operation since 2003 which will be refurbished and found a new home.  The club is thriving thanks to its policy of any fishing method from the bank and fly fishing only from boats.  The reservoir is regularly stocked with trout and there is a good head of pike too.



Great start to 2016 for magazine articles about Wheelyboats and the work of the Trust.

Articles have been published in All At Sea, New Pathways (MS Society) and The Bulletin (British Polio Fellowship).  Click on the links to download.


Refurbished Mk II Wheelyboat launched at Creggan Country Park

On 6th November, Creggan Country Park in Derry City, Northern Ireland, formally launched their 20’ Mk II Wheelyboat.  Karen Healy, Environmental Officer at Creggan Country Park said: ‘I am delighted that we are now able to open up our lake to all abilities. There are other Wheelyboats in Northern Ireland but this is the first for the North West and it will bring so many benefits to people in the city who have never taken part in water based activities before.  We will also use the Wheelyboat as part of our environmental education programme ‘Nature's Classroom' so that groups can take part in bird watching, pond dipping, wildlife art and nature treasure hunts.  It will show Eamon Doherty and Annette McCallion on board with their instructoreveryone that being out on the water is a really special experience and will enhance learning’.


Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust, said: ‘Being a wheelchair user myself, I understand how important it is for disabled people to take part in activities alongside and on equal terms with everybody else. Wheelyboats overcome the problems of access to waterborne activities and give disabled people like me freedom and independence on the water. Wheelyboats are a brilliant resource and we are so pleased to have been able to help Creggan Country Park acquire one. Enormous thanks to the Bruce Wake Charitable Trust who provided the funding. Good luck to all who sail in her - much fun and adventure lies ahead’.


Eamon Doherty and Annette McCallion from St Joseph's Boys School, were the first people to set foot on the boat.  Annette said: ‘It was a bit chilly today but we really enjoyed it, Eamon loved the experience’.


The Wheelyboat is available for individuals, families, groups and schools. To book contact Creggan Country Park on 028 71363 133 or email  More details available at


V20 Wheelyboat Launched at Mylor Sailability

The launch of Mylor Sailability’s brand new wheelchair accessible boat, the Coulam Wheelyboat V20, took place at Mylor Sailing School on the River Fal estuary in Cornwall on Saturday 3 October.  Reaching speeds of over 30mph the specially designed Wheelyboat was launched and formally named ‘Odyssey’ by guest of honour Peter Norfolk MBE, twice gold-winning Paralympian tennis player and GB flagbearer at the London 2012 Olympic Games.


Sailing and boating are activities that most disabled people can participate in effectively given the right access, facilities and opportunities. Tracey Boyne, owner of Mylor Sailing School, recognised a significant lack of disabled access on local waters in Cornwall and 15 months ago Mylor Sailability was established to provide outdoor waterborne activities for people with impaired mobility and special educational needs.


Odyssey’s maiden voyage


Winners of the Sport England Sportivate Best New Project, a national award, the charity has been successful in securing a Sport England Inspired Facilities grant of £48k for a new building, pontoon and hoist, as well as a grant in conjunction with Age UK to encourage people with disabilities over the age of 50 into sailing.  The charity now helps hundreds of people from all over Cornwall with a wide range of disabilities take part in sailing.


Launch conditions were perfect, a warm sunny day with light winds.  About 50 people attended including BBC Points West who filmed the launch for their evening news.  In the morning Tracey Boyne from Mylor Sailability and Andy Beadsley were interviewed on BBC Radio Cornwall’s breakfast programme.  Some brilliant publicity for the project thanks to Firebird PR who do an excellent job helping The Wheelyboat Trust with PR, media and publicity.  The Points West video can be seen at


Since the launch Odyssey has been used in six Sailability sessions (accommodating about 25 people) every week.  For more severely disabled members, Odyssey has transformed their ability to participate in watersports and other activities on the water.  Their options were quite limited before and some were unable to get on the water at all.  As a result, Mylor Sailability’s membership of wheelchair users and others with significant mobility and learning difficulties will increase in number as Tracey and her fellow instructors will be able to accommodate a much broader spectrum of disabilities in the group’s activities.  All existing members, irrespective of their disability, have more choice and more opportunities on the water in Odyssey.


Andy Beadsley said: “One of the aims of The Wheelyboat Trust is to have as many Wheelyboats throughout the UK as possible, so that no-one with impaired mobility should feel excluded from getting out on the water.  We are therefore delighted to launch a Coulam Wheelyboat V20 in Cornwall and hope that it encourages more disabled people to experience the fun and thrill of powerboating.”


Tracey Boyne added: “Mylor Sailability is the only coastal Sailability centre in Cornwall and our new Wheelyboat will give our service users even more opportunities to experience the water and learn new skills. We are very grateful to The Wheelyboat Trust for their help in funding the acquisition of this fantastic boat.”


We are extremely grateful to the following donors for providing the funds for this Wheelyboat project:


Claire Milne Trust

Cornwell Charitable Trust

Douglas Arter Foundation

Elmgrant Charitable Trust

Hedley Foundation

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales Duke of Cornwall

Leonard Laity Stoate Charitable Trust

Norman Family Charitable Trust

St Austell Brewery Charitable Trust

Sterry Family Fund

Suzuki GB

Whirlwind Charitable Trust



Mk III Wheelyboat for Frampton on Severn Sailing Club Sailability

Frampton on Severn Sailing Club Sailability have taken delivery of a brand new Mk III Wheelyboat which they formally launched on 25 July.  The funds were raised by the club and included a grant of £6,000 from Sport England.  The Wheelyboat will enable the club to offer boating activities to all their members regardless of disability.  For more information about the club and their new Wheelyboat telephone David Greenfield on 01452 740126.  Click here to read a full report of the launch reproduced with the kind permission of Stroud Life.


Overwater Wheelyboat Launched on the Shropshire Canal

Mk III Wheelyboat ‘The Maughan Lass’ was launched with great ceremony and in beautiful sunshine on 27 June at Overwater Marina near Audlem, Cheshire.  Rodney Cottrell, Chairman of the project, thanked everybody who had contributed whether financially or in kind.  Key grants for the £20,000 project came from Ableworld, Cheshire East Council, Comic Relief, Cheshire Community Foundation, Awards for All and the Alchemy Foundation.  Overwater Marina has built an access ramp to the Wheelyboat and provides a secure berth free of charge.  After the naming ceremony by Angus Maughan the 120 guests were entertained by the Cheshire Constabulary Corp of Drums and The Maughan Lass had her inaugural trip.


Cheshire Constabulary Corp of Drums were richly entertaining



The Maughan Lass’s first official trip with Rodney Cottrell at the helm


Creggan Country Park

A refurbished Mk II Wheelyboat was delivered to Creggan Country Park, Co Londonderry on 28 June and will be used for fishing and pleasure boating.  The project was aided with a grant from the Bruce Wake Charitable Trust.  Formal launch will be taking place soon – watch this space for a report and pics!


Lechlade Trout Fishery launches refurbished Mk II

Guest of honour, Judith Hann from BBC’s Tomorrow’s World, launched Lechlade Trout Fishery’s Mk II Wheelyboat on 9 June.  Lechlade is the UK’s leading big-fish water with 100 20lb + brown trout and 500 20lb + rainbow trout being caught there ever year along with the thousands of fish averaging 10lb.  The Wheelyboat will enable anglers of all ages with impaired mobility the opportunity of catching these specimen fish.


Judith Hann (left) and Tim Small (kneeling) at the launch of Lechlade’s Mk II Wheelyboat.


Lechlade is partnered with Bushyleaze Trout Fishery where a Wheelyboat has operated for the last ten years and is very popular with anglers.  Last year Bushyleaze won the Alan Faulkner Memorial Award sponsored by Suzuki GB in recognition of the service and access it provides disabled anglers.


Tim Small owns both fisheries and was delighted to have won the award.  He said “providing suitable access that enables everybody to fish is an important feature of Bushyleaze and I am thrilled we can now offer the same service and facilities at Lechlade.  This is the first Wheelyboat to operate on a big-fish water!  It not only will help disabled anglers but elderly and less mobile anglers who find it hard work walking the bank or using the rowing boats.”


Lechlade’s Wheelyboat was originally one of two that were supplied to a fishery in Wales.  When it became spare it was thoroughly overhauled and given at least another ten years of useful life at a fraction of the cost of building a new Wheelyboat.  A grant from the Environment Agency from Rod Licence funding helped with the costs of refurbishment, the balance being met by Tim Small.  The project was also supported by NatWest with competitive funding enabling construction of the bankside structures facilitating easy access on and off the Wheelyboat.


To book the Wheelyboats at Lechlade and Bushyleaze call 01367 253266.


Creeslough & District Angling Club takes delivery of a Coulam 16 Wheelyboat

Co Donegal’s first C16Wbt was delivered in February for disabled anglers to use on Creeslough AC’s Lough Na Toohey.  The project was funded by a grant from Inland Fisheries Ireland.


Coulam 16 Wheelyboat for St Paul’s Fishing Club

Disabled anglers in Co Waterford now have a third angling club operating an accessible Wheelyboat.  St Paul’s FC has lough fishing as well a stretch on the River Suir.  For Wheelyboat bookings contact Der Casey on 00 353 86 0568430.



Scotland’s first Coulam Wheelyboat V20 launched at Castle Semple Centre

Sailing’s Olympic Double Gold Medallist, Dundee-born Shirley Robertson, caused a splash at Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park’s Castle Semple Centre on Saturday 16 May 2015 when she launched the ‘Discovery’ Scotland’s first “Wheelyboat V20” for disabled sailors.

Community Wheelyboat Launched in Somerset


Alan Faulkner Memorial Award 2014


A fleet of disabled-access boats takes to the River Thames for the first time


The Wheelyboat Trust celebrates its 30th anniversary of helping disabled people have freedom on the water

Claire Lomas cuts the ribbon on the new Coulam Wheelyboat V20 'Rivertime II' with Director Andy Beadsley -credit Rob Judges

Wheelyboat at Mariners of Bewl Duschenne Family Support Group Day



Mk III Wheelyboat launched at Galloway Activity Centre


(Lefto right) Andy Beadsley, Richard Hermon, Jennifer Tobin

Anne McGuire MP launches new Wheelyboat at Lake of Menteith

Photo caption: (l to r) Jim Curry (Chairman, Lame Ducks Angling Club, Danny Peet (Trustee, The Wheelyboat Trust), Douglas Fraser (Menteith Bailiff), Iain MacGregor (angler), Anne McGuire MP (shadow Minister for Disabled People), Ossie Smith (Lame Ducks Angling Club), Fraser Renwick (Secretary, Scottish Disabled Fly Fishing Association).

Mk III Wheelyboat launched at Maunsel Lock on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal

Maunsel Lock Canal Centre's new Wheelyboat on its inaugural run

Mk III Wheelyboat launched on the Rivers Lee and Stort


Please Donate

The Wheelyboat Trust relies on donations from its supporters to develop and purchase new craft. Donations can be made in a variety of ways including online. Click here to make a donation.

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