Brand new Wheelyboat model - Coulam Wheelyboat V17 - launched at Wareham Boat Hire

On Monday 19th August, a brand new wheelchair accessible powerboat – the Coulam Wheelyboat V17 – was launched in Wareham, Dorset by Councillor Hilary Goodinge, the Mayor of Wareham, who officially named the new boat. Wareham’s Town Crier Jacquie Hall helped to make sure that the residents and summer holidaymakers of Wareham got to hear all about it!

Wareham Boat Hire’s V17 is the first one off the production line. As a registered Royal Yachting Association (RYA) training centre, Wareham Boat Hire will be able to offer disabled people RYA Powerability training and tuition for the first time, in addition to enabling their disabled customers to enjoy being able to access the lower reaches of the River Frome and Poole Harbour.

While accessible boating is a very important service to provide, with the new V17 Wheelyboat disabled users will be able to go to the next level, training to attain Powerboat Level 1 and 2 qualifications and eventually become qualified powerboat drivers, skippers and instructors. With such qualifications, users will be able to operate the V17 Wheelyboat themselves, representing a level of freedom most able-bodied sailors simply take for granted.

Wareham Boat Hire already has one Wheelyboat – a Mk III – which is immensely popular, attracting 1,000 users per year. Though this has been very successful and is enjoyed by many, the Mk III doesn’t have the capability or horsepower to safely navigate the open waters of Poole Harbour – the largest natural harbour in the world. Therefore, with a Suzuki 100hp outboard and reaching speeds of more than 30mph, the new V17 fits the bill perfectly.

Matt Jones, Director at Wareham Boat Hire, said “The design of the V17 accessible Wheelyboat is second to none. The roll-on, roll-off access and drive-from-wheelchair helm is exactly what we have been looking for to provide inclusive access to the water, bringing accessibility to the heart of Wareham. Our current Wheelyboat, the Mk III, is one of the most used throughout the UK, and we cannot wait to introduce users to the Coulam Wheelyboat V17 and the Powerability programme. Seeing the community and disabled holidaymakers truly benefit both physically and mentally from this vessel will be so rewarding and we are very excited to add the V17 to our fleet and expand the services we offer to disabled people here in Dorset.” 

Wareham Boat Hire and The Wheelyboat Trust are very grateful to the following trusts and organisations for their tremendous generosity in helping fund the new Wheelyboat: Colin & Anna Frizzell Charitable Trust, Douglas Arter Foundation, Fishmongers’ Company Charitable Fund, The Late Francis Crabtree Charitable Settlement, The Leonard Laity Stoate Charitable Trust, M & P Property Investments Ltd, Talbot Village Trust, The Valentine Charitable Trust.

Ireland’s first Coulam Wheelyboat V20

Kinsale Outdoor Education Centre’s new Coulam Wheelyboat V20, ‘Saoirse’ (meaning ‘freedom’), was officially named and launched on Friday 26 August by Denis Leamy, CEO of Cork Education and Training Board, the Mayor of County Cork, Councillor Christopher O’ Sullivan and Jon Hynes, Kinsale OEC’s Director. The launch took place ahead of the Watersports Inclusion Games which saw over 500 people descend on Kinsale for a water-fuelled weekend of fun, offering attendees the opportunity to sail, kayak, stand up paddleboard, surf and, of course, powerboat in Saoirse.

Jon Hynes said “Inclusion and accessibility are two words synonymous with us here at Kinsale OEC and what we offer our users. We aim to ensure all our programmes and activities are open to all, and this year a new chapter is unfolding. We’re thrilled that we can now offer our disabled users the chance to powerboat for the first time and we hope that Saoirse will continue to be a positive spirit after the Watersports Inclusion Games spreading our mission and aim to make the waters around Kinsale accessible to all.”

For nearly 40 years, Kinsale OEC has provided a range of programmes and courses for the people of Cork and those further afield to gain access to the great outdoors. Now, the new Coulam Wheelyboat V20 offers a new unique selling point and adds to the many other inclusive activities already on offer. Saoirse offers users the chance to receive specialist training allowing them to become certified to skipper the new boat, something that’s not been possible until now.  In addition, users will also be able enjoy tours of the Bandon Estuary and Kinsale Harbour as well being able to take part in mackerel fishing and wildlife watching.

Over recent weeks, Jon and his staff have been conducting sea trials and staff training in order to be ready for the Watersports Inclusion Games. In particular, users from the Rebel Wheelers and the Irish Wheelchair Association have participated in some sample trips ahead of the launch, which were thoroughly enjoyed by all.

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.