Should People with Disability Go Sailing?
People with disability have as much to gain from the thrill of sailing as any other person. Many do and those who do not must be made aware of the opportunities.
Disability takes many forms some physical others mental and emotional – the invisible issues that people carry with them, people experiencing limitations in their abilities must, if they wish to, be facilitated, the proof of the pudding is evident in the many Para Sailing events up to and including Olympic Standard.
Many people with perceived disabilities have the guts and determination to achieve whatever their hearts desire, more in some cases than able-bodies folks; imagine climbing a mountain sitting in a wheelchair or unable to see, think of the war veteran who lost his legs serving in a foreign field and who not only learned to walk again but straps on prosthetic blades and runs like the wind, so do not tell any disabled person that sailing is only for the able bodied among us. It is not, sailing is for those who want to do it, and that means anyone.
Many Countries encourage their disabled people to sail, in the US Disabled Sports USA has been promoting a plethora of disabled sports opportunities, especially sailing, over many years, the UK RYA is very active in promoting disabled sailing, Disability Sports Australia and Sailing New Zealand to name but a few more are also active, check out online for organisations local to you and get in touch.
Sailing is liberating, and for people with special needs it can be a life enhancing experience that will truly be life changing.
Kids too, can learn to sail, mucking about in boats is fun for youngsters with ability problems, providing they like the adults are kitted out with a life preserver that is appropriate to their needs. Help them feel the wind and spray on their faces, trim sails, handle the tiller, and help clean the boat afterwards if they can. Learning to sail at a young age is as good a way to free the spirits of young people, and not so young people, and when sailing the water salty or not everyone is the same and pleasure in achievement is universal.
People with disability must be given every chance and the encouragement to sail, with proper training and supervision anyone can enjoy this fabulous sport.