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Wheelchair accessable yachts...

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by AC7UB, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. AC7UB

    AC7UB New Member

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    Greetings,

    My wife and I are considering the idea of purchasing a yacht and living aboard it. There are some complexities involved condidering that my wife is confined to an electric wheelchai, and she does have a service monkey.

    At this point in the game, my knowledge of Yachts is pretty minute, and as such, I am looking for any thoughts, pointers, and suggestions anyone might have.

    Ideally, I need to make whatever I may purchase wheelchair accessable. Currently, I have been looking at the Bluewater yachts as they are single level. It seems like It might be possible to put a small elevator in which would allow my wife to enjoy the top deck. Bathrooms might be a bit trickey to as doorways might need to be widened so on an so forth.

    Does anyone have any experiences withor know of other yachts with a single level living space? As for size, If I am looking at new yachts, it looks like I will be able to afford 40 to 60 feet.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    David
  2. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    Hi David,

    This is a tricky question if you are thinking of going in the open sea. But your suggestion of Bluewater indicates you may think of more inland lakes and waterways?

    But also then, an electric wheelchair is usually heavy and can slide away out of control in a seaway, like from a passing yacht.

    If she is able to use a lighter wheelchair or those reminding of skateboards, it would be safer, but I guess it is still not easy. I have had disabled friends onboard smaller boats and it takes a lot of their energy to handle the movements. They have been totally exhausted when coming ashore again. This of course is very individual.

    I think there are boats that can handle wheelchairs, maybe after some modifications, but I recommend you to try out how she will handle the constant movements onboard a yacht when underway. This you can probably do on a small passenger ferry?

    Whatever, good luck, and don´t abandon the idea just because I brought up some obstacles..!
  3. Innomare

    Innomare Senior Member

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    Dear David,

    I recommend you have a look at 'Impossible Dream', a catamaran sailing yacht built by Multimarine from the UK. The owner can operate the entire yacht from his wheelchair.

    http://www.multimarine.co.uk/impossible dream.html

    A catamaran has a lot of advantages for people in a wheelchair, as there is only very limited heel and roll. Another advantage is the large main deck area.
    This is applicable to a motor catamaran as well. If you stick to inland waterways, the roll factor is not really an issue.

    Keep us posted on your search!

    Bruno
  4. Rene GER

    Rene GER Senior Member

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  5. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    Over the years, I have witnessed a Hatteras 55 with widened companionway/passageways with electric lift, a 56 Hatteras Motoryacht with a clever motorcycle chain/genoa track device that powered a wheelchair + person up the aft deck ladder to the flybridge and, if memory serves, a Rybovich with a full-blown elevator for f/b, salon, and belowdecks levels ingress/egress.

    Very doable, IMO.
  6. SeanC

    SeanC New Member

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    There are many boats that can be adapted to a wheelchair but one of the best designs I have seen (IMHO) is a 48ft Kadey Krogen Whaleback. The main deck is one level from stem to stern. A large head than can accommodate a wheelchair can be created in the starboard guest stateroom. An elevator can be installed from the maindeck to the pilothouse. A ramp can be mounted on the transom that a wheelchair can use to get to a low dock, a floating dock works best.
    There is a Whaleback in the Miami area that is set up this way and it is great to see people with disabilities get opportunities to get out on the water. The boat was graciously offered to serve as a Race Committee boat for a couple of sailing regatta's hosted by Shake-A-Leg Miami which is a universally accessible watersports center.
  7. Jorge Lang

    Jorge Lang Senior Member

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    During my visit to the Sanctuary Cove Show in Brisbane last month, I stopped to see one of our customers Azzura Yachts. They just completed a 76' sportfish. The owner is confined to a wheelchair so the boat was designed with that in mind. The boat has a lift and even the space between the engines is wide enough for a chair. You should give it a look. You can see the boat at http://www.azzurayachts.com.au/warwick76.htm
  8. J. Dunbar

    J. Dunbar New Member

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    Chris Galati , a broker in Anna Maria Florida with Galati Yacht sales is a quadriplegic, and owns and operates a Viking 52 open. He has been very helpful to me and a client. Chris has a lot of contacts to help modify a boat with out destroying the value.
    He saved me a lot of time.
  9. Rene GER

    Rene GER Senior Member

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  10. Palmer

    Palmer New Member

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  11. AC7UB

    AC7UB New Member

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    Wheelchair Acessable Yachting.

    First off, I would like to thank everyone who has replied to my post. I will check out the links provided shortly.

    Here is pretty much the deal. My wife and I are interested in a boat we can take out on the open sea. I mentioned Bluewater as they are one level. I assume they can be taken out on the open sea. If my assumption is incorrect, please do let me know. It is my thought that a single level yacht would be easier to modify to fit my needs. I looked at several Sea Ray Models, and the seem to have steps pretty much everywhere. What I am hoping to do is narrow my search down to a couple of Brands/models and then see what modifications would be required for each to make it usable to my wife.

    Now as for taking such a boat out to sea, I would suspect that it would not be a huge problem for my wife. Her wheelchair is electric, has electric breaks, and weighs several hundred pounds. As is the case, I would think that if the boat pitched and rolled a little bit she would still be able to comforably be able to maneuver her chair. We would not plan on taking the boat out in bad weather so I would think the pitch and roll would not be too bad( I know that is pretty relative).


    As for getting her on the boat, I would need to come up with SAFE brow she could drive up which would not be so heavy that I would not be able to manage it myself.


    With respect to hull types, I am not sure what options there are. We do not want a house boat so I assume that means I am looking at Yachts. We do plan on living on whatever we buy and plan on taking occasional trips.

    I am really in the very early stages of my investigation into the viablilty of this for us, and learning about yachts in general ( My last venture in to boating was my 4 years on a small boat in the U.S. Navy 20 years ago as a Boatswains Mate... It's amazing what I have forgotten).

    Oh, as a secondary issue, I'll need to figure out what accomodations can be made for my wife's service monkey...


    Once again. I would like to thank everyone for the comments and suggestions.

    David Ray
    AC7UB (Ham Radio Callsign)
  12. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    This may be out of your size range, and/or budget, but I think that New England Boatworks and C. Raymond Hunt and Associates did a fine job with this one:

    http://www.neboatworks.com/surf.htm

    If you want a boat that can go to sea, you can't beat the Hunt hull.

    POWER_SurfFull5.jpg

    POWER_SurfFull11.jpg
  13. StewartM

    StewartM New Member

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    StewartM

    Hi David,
    I’m going to come at your question from a slightly different perspective to others. I am a wheelchair user and can see a whole lot going for the idea you and your wife are considering. Apart from the wonderful shared experience of setting off on journeys on the water together, a customized boat means that all the uncertainties of whether the bed and the bathroom at your destinations will be appropriately accessible are no longer issues you need worry about, because you will have your own specifically designed facilities with you. To me it’s the definition of true freedom! Our dream has been to travel the canals and inland waterways of the UK and Europe, getting off when we feel like it to explore the culture, history and hospitality as we go along. We have tracked down a boat builder in the UK with experience in building wheelchair accessible vessels and he is about to start work on our modified replica Dutch barge, “Endellion”, which will be 56 feet long and 12 feet, 6 inches wide. I will use a power wheelchair with tilt and elevate functions. One of two electronic gangways will be lowered for me to transit on or off the barge. A scissor lifter in the floor powered by a hydraulic ram will lower me from wheelhouse level to the living quarters. I will steer via a joystick. Double glazing and air conditioning and heating will control the climate – important to people with neurological conditions. Out of interest, their website is at www.ledgardbridge.com Canals and inland waterways are pretty placid, but if I needed to be more securely “attached” in the boat, I would consider a locking system such as the EZ Lock at http://www.ezlock.net/ or if you are prepared to pay a whole lot more money for your chair there is the Permolock at http://www.permobil.com/templates/Page.aspx?id=3214
    Planning and getting every component just right is taking a lot of effort and imagination, but I am sure it will all be worth it in the long run!
    I hope this helps,

    Best regards

    Stewart
  14. netgain1

    netgain1 New Member

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    Does anyone have any updates on these post they were posted 2 or 3 years ago. I am wondering how everything has been working out with the wheelchair modifications. Also the other issues on board with the wheelchairs

    Thank you

    Gordon

    I am getting ready to start building a wheelchair accesable 85ft yacht.
  15. lwrandall

    lwrandall senior member

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    Hi,

    Have you had a chance to check out the wheelchair accessible Hargrave video on Youtube?
  16. netgain1

    netgain1 New Member

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    could not find any wheelchair yachts on Google from hargrove I viewed two hargrove video's on you tube listed
  17. lwrandall

    lwrandall senior member

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  18. discokachina

    discokachina Senior Member

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    Yacht Elevator

    I use a walker or wheelchair full time so I am always looking for clever solutions to make my dream yacht more accessible.

    If you have space for a circular verticle shaft between 30" and 52" in diameter up to 4 decks high you may want to consider this: Marine Vacuum Elevator - YouTube
  19. Telemachus

    Telemachus Senior Member

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    If I'm not mistaken, I think there's a video at PMY's website where Capt. Ken and company review yachts. The videos are unsophisticated at times, but entertaining. I think that's where I saw the yacht modified for wheelchairs.
  20. RVN-BR

    RVN-BR Senior Member

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    if you are going up in size (for the purpose of this discussion - initial request was 40-60ft, above is posted abt 80ft, so i will continue rising as not so much is available afaik), MY Betty (royal denship built circa 2001) was fully wheelchair accessible (including lift in bathroom for washing, etc)...

    I know she underwent some work after being sold a few years back, and i know the owner didnt like some of the more "pronounced" accessibility features (such as lifts and such), but dont know how much was removed, either way, her corridors/staircases/doorways were wide to accomodate accordingly, this mustnt have changed much...

    Definitely worth looking at if there is this requirement.

    she is also on sale now (just listed a few days ago)...

    EDIT: to avoid confusion, when i say "fully" wheelchair accessible, it was for a owner, not a wheelchair-bound crew/captain...

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