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Pipester
Pipester

Posted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 12:39am

Post Subject: Disabled boater

I am 38 years old and disabled. I can walk slowly with the aid of crutches. I have been passionate about canals and boats for a long time. I now find myself in a position to be able to afford a narrowboat to live on but before I take that leap I need to hear opinions on whether it is feasable for a disabled man on his own to handle the day to day rigours of narrowboat life. Thank you for your time

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 8:46am

Post Subject: Disabled boater

Dear Roger Having taken my elderly mother in law who also had difficulty in moving about on several boating holidays I will give my views. However I hope any disabled readers we have will also comment. As far as the boat itself is concerned I think general moving about inside, getting down to draws and cupboards etc may be easier than when in a house because you are usually close to something that will give support to help you get down and up again. There are situations where able bodied people have to crawl a little either forwards or backwards to get enough space in which to stand up. You will have to decide if the arrangements for getting into the front cockpit or out into the steering position are within your capabilities but I suspect that a careful selection of boat (one with decent sized steps instead of a virtual ladder) plus additional strategic grab rails will solve this problem. There are boats with hydraulic wheel chair lifts to both get out of the living accommodation and also onto the bank, but that has a cost. Where I am concerned is "out of season" locking and mooring unless you boat with an able bodied person. I am sure you will be able to handle the boat (there is at least one joystick controlled boat that was built for the disabled owner) but how you would get on stepping from boat to land and the pulling the boat in to moor when no other boaters are around I am not sure. Sometimes it requires a bit of a jump. Single handed locking will require you to walk across a narrow walkway, often on top of the long balance beam. If you need crutches I am not sure it would be safe because of the narrowness and the often slippery surface. You may will find that you need two hands to raise the paddles so this may limit you. Finally you will either have to drive or pull the boat into the lock. If you drive you will have to climb onto the roof and then up a vertical metal ladder. If you pull it you have to hold onto a rope and manoeuvre the rope over obstacles. The locking is where I have the gravest doubts that you will cope. There will be no problem if you have someone to do all that work, and during the busy times you will find other boaters will usually be very willing to do such work for you, especially once they see your condition. Finally there are a lot of places on the system where its a bit of a hike to get provisions so that needs consideration. There are parts of the system where there are long stretches with no locks, but I think you would soon get tired of being so limited. Also the major rivers have lock keepers who may help you, but again its limiting and when rivers go into flood you may need to move fast and have a bit of strength to get the boat tied up safely. Tony Brooks

boysclub09
boysclub09

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:37pm

Post Subject: Disabled boater

would likew to know if you 'took the plunge'? (I am able bodied but wish to take young people 14 - 25 on canal trips if i can find the right boat with wheelchair lift)

Disabled boater

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