Project Description

Special access pontoon for disabled sailing charity

08 December 2016

Walcon Marine has designed and built a disabled-access pontoon for Hampshire disabled sailing charity Sailability, which allows individuals of all ages with special needs to enjoy dinghy sailing in a safe and supportive environment. Constructed using Walcon’s aluminium-framed System 2000 pontoons, the structure has a 13.5-metre bridge leading out to 7.5 by 4 metre landing stage with an 11.5 by 4 metre main platform beyond. Special features include optimisation for wheelchair access, detachable hoists to assist with embarkation and disembarkation, and safety barriers around the perimeter.

The pontoon has been built on a freshwater lake outside Totton, Southampton, and represents the creation of a third branch for Sailability. Testwood Lakes Sailability (TLS) has taken six years to get started, and was only made possible by donations from individuals and organisations including Sainsbury’s and the New Forest branch of Rotary.

The pontoon was officially opened by disability sports ambassador and well-known yachtsman Geoff Holt MBE, who is Patron of the charity. TLS Chairman Eric Blyth, who was the driving force behind the project, hosted the event. New Forest Rotary also presented a specially designed and built dinghy named the Maurice Porter.

Walcon Marine is experienced in creating marine access structures to aid those with special needs. Its Wheelchair Pontoon is a specially designed and engineered marine pontoon that gives the disabled and elderly wheelchair access into deep water, whether at swimming pools or in oceans and lakes. It allows individuals in wheelchairs to move down a series of internal ramps fitted within a pontoon which extends below the surface of the water. At the end of the ramp system is a submerged platform at one side of the pontoon ramp, from where individuals can float gently off their submerged wheel chairs and move ahead into the water.