What are some different dock adaptions my club or program can install to help with mobility and accessibility?
Dock safety can prevent boat damage while keeping sailors safe. Docks need to be adapted as they are the primary loading and unloading zones for sailors. Ramps and dock coverings are simple ways to make a venue more accessible.
For those in wheelchairs, ramps are a crucial adaptation. The angle of incline shouldn’t be too large for easy access. Carpets are also a great addition, especially to metal ramps, to prevent slipping. It is critical to make sure ramps are wide enough to meet ADA standards.
The ramp should have enough run off installed so a wheelchair can exit safely. A photo of a ramp, with extra run off, used at The Clagett Regatta can be seen in theses photos as well.
Gaps between docks should also be covered, with what is often referred to as kick plates, so wheelchairs and move across docks easily and the risk of tripping is decreased.
For those programs that have raised cleats on the docks, tying brightly colored tape or rope to these cleats helps visually impaired sailors be aware of the raised object.Rubber dock coverings on dock edges can help prevent anyone from falling into the water. It alerts those with visual impairments of the drop and ensures that wheelchairs can’t roll over the edge.
It is also a good idea to ask sailors to lock their wheels, or turn their wheelchairs over prior to leaving the dock for the day. This practice ensures that wheelchairs do not accidentally roll into the water, and stay put, as the day goes on.
Lifeguards may be necessary to maintain the wellbeing of sailors. During big events or periods of short-staffing, lifeguards are a great addition to any adaptive sailing program.
You can contact your local park district or community center to find lifeguards for each event.