Fife Sailability launch their Coulam Wheelyboat V20

Annabelle Ewing MSP was guest of honour and declared the V20 officially launched.

Annabelle Ewing MSP was guest of honour and declared the V20 officially launched.

The Coulam Wheelyboat V20 enables Fife Sailability to expand their activities at Lochore Meadows sailing loch and provide wheelchair users and people with any kind of impairment with the ability to participate in and enjoy the power and pleasure of boating.  

Annabelle Ewing MSP was guest of honour at the launch which took place on 11 May. She said “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to have been invited to be guest of honour and participate in the naming ceremony.  Accessibility has been a very important part of the development of Lochore Meadows and this new boat brings that access-for-all ethos onto the water.  Well done to everyone at The Wheelyboat Trust and Fife Sailability and I wish everyone involved many happy times aboard.”

Fundraising for the Wheelyboat was a joint effort by Fife Sailability and The Wheelyboat Trust and it was generously funded by Sport Scotland, The Robertson Trust, Hugh Fraser Foundation, Barcapel Foundation and Tay Charitable Trust. It has been fitted out with Suzuki’s new 100hp outboard (the lightest in its class), which was specifically funded by Spifox. Enormous thanks to all the donors from us all.

Annabelle Ewing MSP takes the helm.

Annabelle Ewing MSP takes the helm.

Coulam Wheelyboat V20 and the work of the Trust filmed for BBC1’s Countryfile

Countryfile presenter, Steve Brown, interviews North Wales Sailability volunteer, Ian Roberts, at the V20’s helm.

Countryfile presenter, Steve Brown, interviews North Wales Sailability volunteer, Ian Roberts, at the V20’s helm.

On 17 March, the BBC’s flagship countryside programme, Countryfile, will feature the Coulam Wheelyboat V20 on a trial run at North Wales Sailability on Anglesey where a Coulam Wheelyboat V17 will be delivered later in the year.  Taking part in Countryfile has been a major objective of the Trust for some time and it’s PR company, Firebird PR, secured the prime-time slot when they approached the programme’s producers in December with an idea for a feature.  The Trust and North Wales Sailability are working together to fund a V17 for the group and a larger V24 is planned next year.  Presenter, Steve Brown, had great fun helming the V20, his first time at the wheel of a powerboat, and some stunning footage was taken of the V20 in action.  The programme shows how a Wheelyboat would enhance the activities of the Sailability group, broaden members’ experiences on the water and make it so much easier and speedier to board and disembark via the bow door. Filming took place amid a busy Sailability session and most people attending were interviewed.  Needless to say, there was much excitement about the prospect of being on the telly!

Angling Trust and The Wheelyboat Trust launch their project to provide seven clubs and fisheries across the UK with new Wheelyboats

The Wheelyboat Trust and Angling Trust have partnered together to part-fund seven new Coulam 16 Wheelyboats that will enable clubs and fisheries across the UK to provide disabled anglers, and wheelchair users in particular, with access to their waters and the fishing.  The project will be divided into two parts with the first round in Spring 2019 providing four Wheelyboats and the final round in Autumn 2019 the other three Wheelyboats.

Applications from clubs and fisheries are now being invited for the first four Wheelyboats in the Spring round. 

Purpose-built angling boats, both the Coulam 15 and 16 are already widely used on fisheries all over the UK.  The Coulam 16 Wheelyboat is identical to the standard Coulam 16, but is built with a hydraulic platform amidships that lowers the angler from gunwale height to floor level.  The angler wheels up a short ramp onto the platform and a lever is pressed that lowers the platform.  At floor level the angler can then position himself at the bow or stern.  The Coulam 16 Wheelyboat can be driven from a wheelchair and, once on board, the disabled angler can operate the Wheelyboat entirely independently.

The Coulam 16 Wheelyboat is best boarded from a floating pontoon or jetty, but boarding from the bank is possible with a longer ramp.  It has a maximum capacity of three people and the maximum outboard motor is 10hp.  It is designed for angling on still waters on the drift or at anchor.  Its wide beam makes it unsuitable for rowing very far, but it can be used on a river if motored to the swim or pool and anchored up.  For salmon fishing, where a boatman rows and the angler fishes from the stern, then a Coulam 15 Wheelyboat is recommended. Two of these accessible boat operate on the River Tweed and applications can be made for this model instead of the Coulam 16 Wheelyboat. 

The Wheelyboat Trust has raised £35,000 in grants from the Peter Harrison Foundation (£30,000) and Lord Barnby’s Foundation (£5,000) to support this initiative.  It is with huge thanks to them both that the seven Coulam Wheelyboats will each be discounted by £5,000 bringing the cost of each boat down to the same price as the standard, non-accessible, version of the Coulam 16. 

The application process is now open at where detailed information about the project and what is funded is also available.  The closing date for applications is Friday 31 May.

Assynt Crofters’ Trust launch a Coulam 16 Wheelyboat

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This year is the 25th anniversary of the Assynt Crofters’ Trust taking ownership of the beautiful North Assynt Estate in the highlands of Scotland comprising of 21,300 acres with over 200 lochs. As part of a week-long celebration, ACT launched their new Coulam 16 Wheelyboat on Loch Drumbeg. The lochs are only accessible to the fit and able-bodied and therefore ACT is launching their new Wheelyboat to be able to offer all their visitors, regardless of age or ability, the opportunity to fish and watch wildlife in this stunning setting.

The fully accessible Coulam 16 Wheelyboat was launched on Saturday 30 June, as part of a day’s fishing competition for all anglers to be involved in, either on shore, or on the boat. The purpose-built fishing boat is ingeniously modified for wheelchair access and is an essential facility on larger waters. This project is an important development as it creates opportunities for mobility impaired anglers in a remote and pristine environment fishing for wild brown trout.  Anglers will not be the only beneficiaries, however, as the Wheelyboat will also play an important role as an accessible boat for wildlife tourism.

This joint project between ACT and The Wheelyboat Trust would not have been possible without the fundraising efforts of both charities. The Wheelyboat Trust contributed almost half of the total funds and provided a total of £5,000 from grants raised from Anne Duchess of Westminster’s Charity, Christina Mary Hendrie Charitable Trust, Mr J Collins, Mrs J Howman, JTH Charitable Trust, Lord Leverhulme’s Charitable Trust, Souter Charitable Trust, Sylvia Aitken Charitable Trust and Mr K Williams.  ACT raised their contribution from Assynt Fly Fishing, Living the Dream, Pudding Boy Productions, Scottish Hydro Electric and Scottish Water.

For enquiries telephone 01571 855298.

HRH The Princess Royal officially launches 'Susan Mary'

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ollowing the handover of a Coulam Wheelyboat V20 to Lymington Sailability at 2017’s Southampton Boat Show, HRH The Princess Royal in her capacity as President of the Royal Yachting Association formally declared the Wheelyboat launched.  The ceremony took place at the Pebble Beech Restaurant, Barton on Sea, on 11 May.  Guests included Lymington Sailability members and supporters, local Councillors, project donors and representatives from RYA Sailability.

For enquiries, telephone 07979 778144 or go to

Papercourt Sailability launches Mk III Wheelyboat


Papercourt Sailing Club is organised with passion by the members for the members.  The club is an RYA Champion Club, a recognised RYA Training Centre and the club was the UK’s RYA Sailing Club of the Year, as well as being a Sailability Foundation Status club. Their programmes are accessible to all abilities and ages from their vibrant youth programme, which has over 150 children, to their adult training programme. All are welcome to join the Club either as a non-sailing individual or family, or without owning a boat, learn to sail at very reasonable cost, and get friendly advice about which boat to buy, with first class facilities and a wonderful safe environment in which to learn and sail. There are already six Access dinghies, designed so that they will not capsize, and these will now be complemented by the new Wheelyboat offering a different type of fully accessible boat in the fleet.

For more information about the Sailability programme at Papercourt, email

Many thanks to Peter Snow for providing us with photos of the launch.

Coulam 16 Wheelyboat launched on Llyn Brenig

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Brenig is Welsh Water’s jewel in the crown of fisheries in North Wales attracting anglers from all over the UK but its location is particularly well-suited to anglers from Wales and the north west.  It is a stocked trout fishery renowned for its hard fighting rainbow trout that are grown on in the lake.  It is a large expanse of water with 14 miles of bank, none of which is accessible to disabled anglers who are therefore totally reliant on a Wheelyboat.  Brenig has operated a Wheelyboat continuously since 1989.  The first one was replaced in 2004 with a Mk II model and this is now having to be retired after 13 years of sterling service.

The Coulam 16 Wheelyboat joins a large fleet of standard Coulam boats and it looks and performs identically.  Its two predecessors have been aluminium craft with bow doors that lower to form a ramp and as such some disabled anglers felt self-conscious using them.  Having an accessible boat with identical capability to the rest of the fleet is important for the self-esteem of its users.  Also, disabled anglers who fish Brenig’s competitions will now be able to do so entirely on equal terms with their able-bodied counterparts.

The launch took place on 8 June and Terry Evans, regular Wheelyboat user at Brenig, formally declared the Wheelyboat launched.

We are very grateful to Lord Leverhulme’s Charitable Trust for helping us fund this project.

To book the Wheelyboat for a day’s fishing on Brenig, telephone 01490 420463.

Mountain Ash Fly Fishers’ Coulam 16 Wheelyboat launched on Penderyn Reservoir


Mountain Ash Fly Fishers Association is a fly-fishing club based in the Cynon Valley in South Wales.  It was formed in 1958 and leases Penderyn Reservoir which it operates as a day ticket water for rainbow trout.  In recent years MAFFA has made a concerted effort to improve the facilities there, particularly for disabled anglers, including improvements to pathways, parking, and accessible casting platforms. These new and updated facilities enable schools, groups and organisations such as the local Scouts to try fishing for themselves. The Wheelyboat project is the final element that has transformed the reservoir into a fully accessible fishery for all to enjoy.  Also benefitting from the new Wheelyboat will be members of the Welsh Disabled Fly Fishing Team who come to Penderyn to practice.

The Wheelyboat project cost a total of £10,882.  Huge thanks to the project’s donors: Natural Resources Wales, Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust, Sport Wales and Pen-y-Cymoedd Community Fund.

To book the Wheelyboat, telephone 07547 868862 or go to

Local Solutions launch V20 in Liverpool docks

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A Coulam Wheelyboat V20 was launched by not-for-profit charity Local Solutions at their Liverpool Watersports Centre on 12 April.  It is the first fully accessible powerboat at the centre, strengthening existing provisions for people with disabilities.

The Wheelyboat was officially launched by Lady Maureen Massie and is named ‘Sir Bert Massie’ after the renowned disability rights campaigner and long standing trustee of Local Solutions.   Also in attendance was the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, Mr Mark Blundell, and local Councillor Pam Thomas, Cabinet Member for Inclusive and Accessible City of Liverpool City Council.

Local Solutions’ Watersports Centre is in the process of developing its facilities specifically for people with disabilities to boost well-being, self-esteem and skills. The combined successful fundraising of £33,220 by Local Solutions and The Wheelyboat Trust with the support from Sport England for the new Wheelyboat has allowed the thriving centre to enrich the lives of their learning, sensory and mobility-impaired visitors with this new roll-on, roll-off accessible powerboat, which will enable them to enjoy the excitement of water sports without the need to leave their wheelchairs.

Local Solutions prides itself in being a thriving centre delivering services to support individuals, families and communities with a primary focus on those experiencing disadvantage, exclusion and vulnerability. The special features of the Wheelyboat will provide users with mobility impairments with new skillsets, as disabled users will be able to learn to operate the boat themselves, as well as achieving accredited watersports qualifications.  To find out more about the availability of the Wheelyboat telephone the watersports centre on 0151 708 9322 or go to

Caldecotte Xperience’s V20 launch

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Caldecotte Xperience in Milton Keynes launched their Coulam Wheelyboat V20 on 15 March, the first fully accessible power boat to operate at this outdoor activity centre.  The new boat was aptly named ‘The Wheel of Opportunity’ in a competition won by local school, Great Linford Primary.

The Wheelyboat Trust’s and Action4Youth’s partnership started in 2015 when an instructor from Caldecotte Xperience saw a V20 being towed along the M1.  The instructor realised this might be the perfect vessel to fill a significant gap in provision for mobility impaired people at the centre.  After Googling the model name, the instructor contacted The Wheelyboat Trust who arranged to visit with their demonstrator for a trial run.  The V20 seen on the M1 was being towed by boatbuilder, Jim Coulam, on its way to the Southampton Boat Show.  This twist of fate led The Wheelyboat Trust and Action4Youth working together to fund the Coulam Wheelyboat V20.  The total cost of the project was £41,000 for features including folding bench seating, wheelchair anchorage for the helmsman’s seat, and a 4-wheel braked trailer, with the Wheelyboat Trust raising £10,500 towards the overall cost. Caldecotte Xperience can now enrich the lives of their learning, sensory and mobility impaired visitors with this new roll-on, roll-off access power boat, which will enable them to enjoy the excitement of water sports, without the need for them to leave their wheelchairs.  

For enquiries telephone 01908 232042 or go to


For reports and photos of earlier Wheelyboat launches, please download our Waterwheels newsletter.