Sailability is an entry level program for people of all-abilities to get into sailing and all activities at clubs. Approximately 20% of Australians are classified as having a disability, making inclusion important for clubs.
Overview of Sailability
The objective of Sailability is to involve people of all-abilities in all club activities, by ensuring club facilities and programs are accessible, and clubs have developed a culture of inclusion through promotion, awareness and training.
People of all-abilities are encouraged to participate in all aspects of The Sailing Pathway – this is a 10 step process that starts at Level 1 (Discover Sailing Start Sailing Courses), up to their desired level, and for some, Level 10 - Paralympic Sailing or the Special Olympics. Clubs should consider which aspects of The Sailing Pathway they can provide to people of all-abilities. For clubs that are Discover Sailing Centres this means offering programs from Levels 0-4 as well as club racing (Level 5) and possibly club coaching programs (Level 6). Clubs who are not Discover Sailing Centres can offer level 0 and level 5.
For those participants who do not wish to progress up the Sailing Pathway, most Sailability programs offer recreational sailing (level 0), supported by a passionate group of volunteers.
For many individuals who want to participate in sailing but happen to have a disability, no adjustment to equipment or facilities is needed. They simply require a club that is welcoming and inclusive. There are some people with a disability who may require modified equipment or facilities. For example, people with limited mobility may not be able to steer using a conventional tiller, or upright a conventional dinghy that is capsized. For this purpose the Access classes are recommended, but they are not the exclusive Sailability equipment. Some clubs will be constrained in offering the Access based program by prevailing sea or beach conditions. Ballasted day boats, larger keelboats and off the beach multihulls may be appropriate for certain clubs.
Clubs are always encouraged to understand the individual particularly needs and find out as much as they can about how they can assist them in getting out on the water. Every sailing club can be inclusive and some will be able to extend to a greater range of people because of the virtue of having equipment and facilities that are very accessible.
Sailability programs at clubs are a priority for Australian Sailing. Sailability participants and volunteers should be registered with clubs in exactly the same way as other members. Many successful clubs offer concessional membership arrangements, to recognise the contribution of these volunteers, and the financial challenges of some of the Sailability participants. People of all-abilities benefit from being members of clubs and enjoying the same aspects of club life as all members.
Here are some ways clubs can ensure that sailing is inclusive:
- Tangible support for volunteer attraction, support and recognition
- Equipment - different types of boat provided by clubs (including the Access Classes) or modified equipment
- Instructors that are able to adapt their teaching methods to suit individuals of all-abilities
- Equipment to assist those with limited mobility to get into and out of boats
- Modified docking areas
- Affordable options to participate including reduced membership fees for individuals who rely on a disability pension, companion cards, ongoing use of club boats
- Events for people of all-abilities to compete including club racing and social activities
- Structured development through The Sailing Pathway levels
- Commitment to encouraging club officials to undertake training to understand inclusion