Disabled Sailing

Disabled Sailing in Canada and The U.S.A.

Canada

Photo of a disabled person sailing a small boat
Disabled sailor sailing a small boat.

The Adaptive Sailing Association of British Columbia (ASABC) (formerly DSABC) has been providing opportunities for people with physical disabilities to experience recreational and competitive sailing in fully accessible sailboats for over 30 years.

Sailing for people with significant physical disabilities got its start in Canada in 1989, when Sam Sullivan used a British-made Sunbird dinghy to launch the first few sails at the Jericho Sailing Centre on English Bay. Today, the ASABC operates eight specially designed Canadian made Martin 16 sailboats and hosts 1000+ sails each (non-COVID) year at Jericho and more from its affiliated branches in Victoria, Chemainus, and Kelowna. The Martin 16 sailboat is designed specifically to be accessible for all levels of ability, with use of either a joystick control or sip and puff technology. Participants range from novices to experienced racers who advance to join the Race Club, representing ASABC in local regattas and national competitions.

Inspired by ASABC and Sam Sullivan's efforts to expose more and more people with very high levels of physical disabilities to the sport, adaptive sailing has now spread across Canada, throughout the US and around the world. Disabled sailing played a major role in the Summer Paralympics every four years up until 2020 when it was dropped for the Tokyo Paralympics. See the post Para Sailing will not be included in the Paralympic Games for LA28.

There are several other training and competitive programs throughout Canada such as:

U.S.

Photo of a sailing assistant with a disabled sailor.
Assisted sailing.

Adaptive Sailing, once part of the Disabled Sports USA organization, is now part of the new Move United organization that was created when Disabled Sports USA merged with the Adaptive Sports USA organization in 2020. [Wikipedia]

Move United is a member of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. The organization (headquartered in Rockville, Maryland) operates community parasports programs through over 210 member organizations in 45 states. Mission: Ensuring everyone, regardless of ability, experiences the life-changing power of sport and is included in their community.

Follow Move United in one of several social media aps.

There are several adaptive sailing training and competitive programs throughout the U.S. such as:


Sports and Recreation


  • ATVs:
    • All-Terrain Vehicle Safety by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are among the most popular recreational vehicles in the nation today, but along with popularity comes increased risk and sometimes carelessness.
      • ATV Safety Institute
      • Motorcycle Safety by the U.S. Department of Transportation. (NHTSA). "Born to be wild" may be an anthem for a generation of motorcycles enthusiasts but the accident rates are a sobering reminder that there's more to riding than the romance of the open road.
      • Snowmobiling Safety by the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA). Make sure you get back to the lodge safely.
      • Safe Riders! Snowmobile Safety Awareness Program. This program has been produced through a partnership between the American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA), the International Association of Snowmobile Administrators (IASA), and the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA) with financial assistance from the Recreational Trails Program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation — Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
  • Accessible Gaming
    • AbleGamers Charity Combating Social Isolation Through Play. Creates opportunities that enable play in order to combat social isolation, foster inclusive communities, and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. Get Help. Give Help.
    • Accessible Gaming Quarterly. Accessible Gaming Quarterly is a zine devoted to accessibility and disability within the tabletop RPG space. Each issue features articles and art by disabled contributors, but the zine isn't only for people with disabilities. It's full of articles designed to bring together disabled and non-disabled gamers alike.
    • The Secret World of Disabled Gamers | MIT Technology Review. By Emerging Technology from the arXivarchive page, July 3, 2018. By some estimates, as many as 2.6 billion people take part in digital gaming, a significant fraction of the global population. There is much ongoing study by games makers and researchers into why and how people play: for fun, for the challenge, to relax, to engage with friends, and so on. And yet one group of people are conspicuous by their absence in this research: people with disabilities. There is growing anecdotal evidence that many disabled people enjoy gaming and are increasingly involved in it. But little is known about who these people are, what games they play, and what challenges they face. And that is a significant barrier to improving access for the disabled.
    • Can I Play That? is a hobby site to a destination for players and developers alike that provides all forms of accessibility information on video games and the industry. Reviews, news stories, and features at CIPT exclusively report on the ever-growing presence and adoption of accessibility features within the gaming industry. Can I Play That? works to share stories that influence game updates, inform disabled players, educate and entertain players and developers, and provide a voice for one of the largest player bases in the industry. They have also developed professional workshops that tackle topics such as diversity, equity, and inclusion, and accessible community management. These workshops are available for studios to book.
    • The Rise of Accessible Gaming
    • How game-makers are catering to disabled players Hardware and software solutions open gaming to a wider audience than ever. By Meagan Shelley, 8/29/2021, 5:20 PM. (Download the PDF.)
    • The Conversation, It's designers who can make gaming more accessible for people living with disabilities, Published: January 17, 2019 2.13pm EST, By Ben Egliston, PhD candidate in Media and Communications, University of Sydney. (Download the PDF.)
    • Combating Social Isolation Through Play
    • Cerebral Palsy Foundation (CPF) Accessible Gaming. CPF worked with Microsoft to develop the Xbox Adaptive Controller that let's us all play Xbox!
    • "Game accessibility" article by Wikipedia
  • Disability Sports: