The National Careline Blog
The Disabled Sailing Association is a Torquay-based sailing charity
27 October 2022
“Our aim is, wherever possible, to give everybody, no matter what their
disability, the opportunity to enjoy the experience of sailing in a safe and
enjoyable environment, and to encourage them to be involved in an activity
that many believe they are excluded from.
The fun and freedom of being out at sea, enjoying the social contact of
others, working together in helping to handle the boats all helps to build
confidence, friendships and social skills for everybody involved.”
The Disabled Sailing Association (DSA) was established as a Torquay-based charity in
2005 by six local, disabled, people who loved sailing at sea and wished to provide the
opportunity to others with disabilities to share their enjoyment of sailing. It is a non-profit
making organisation, manned and operated completely by unpaid volunteers and is totally
reliant on external funding, donations and voluntary contributions.
Since those early days the individual membership has grown to over three hundred, of
which approximately three-quarters have disabilities and the remainder form their qualified
and trained crews.
The DSA have been able to provide sailing trips for all people of all ages from 4 to 104 and
through a wide range of disabilities including blindness, deafness, learning difficulties,
chronic and mental illness. Thus helping to promote a healthier lifestyle and a break from
the usual four walls.
They also regularly take out groups from rehabilitation, respite and day centres as well as
special needs schools.
The DSA is an ‘RYA Sailability’ affiliated and approved organisation. It has two modern
sea-going yachts, each specially adapted for people with disabilities including wheelchair
users who can access the vessels directly via a purpose-designed ramp.
Both boats are fully compliant with the required RNLI sea safety checks and
recommendations and each is regularly serviced and checked. Their boats are in a
prominent position in Torquay harbour (near the ‘Harvester’) and are easily seen by locals
and visitors alike, allowing everyone to see for themselves the ability, and not the disability,
of our disabled members.