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Wheelyboat Trust launch new accessible powerboat in Poole Harbour - Monday 19th August 2019

The Wheelyboat Trust
August 13 2019

The Wheelyboat and Wareham Boat Hire

New accessible powerboat to be launched in Poole Harbour
For the first time, Wareham Boat Hire in Dorset will be able to provide RYA powerboat training to disabled people

On Monday 19th August 2019, a brand new wheelchair accessible powerboat – the Coulam Wheelyboat V17 – will be launched in Wareham, Dorset by Councillor Hilary Goodinge, the Mayor of Wareham, who will officially name the new boat. Wareham’s Town Crier Jacquie Hall, will also be attending this event, helping to make sure that the residents and summer holidaymakers of Wareham get to hear all about it! 

National charity, The Wheelyboat Trust, has supplied the first one off the production line of its brand new Wheelyboat model to Wareham Boat Hire. 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 Wheelyboat, users will be able to go to the next level, training to reach 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 says: “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 a 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.”  

As well as new training courses, the V17 will also enable Wareham Boat Hire to extend its organised pleasure trips downstream into Poole Harbour.  As the river widens into the harbour, its character and scenery changes offering new sightseeing and wildlife-watching opportunities. The speed restriction ends and the V17’s larger outboard provides an exciting powerboating experience for the more adventurous.

Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust says: “Without the provision of accessible boats, disabled people are largely denied experiences that able-bodied people freely enjoy. It is fantastic to partner with Wareham Boat Hire again, who are now able to offer RYA powerboating qualifications and this takes their commitment to increasing inclusivity in the activities they offer to the next level. Our newest model, the V17 is the perfect boat for this purpose, as the design means it can be used as a powerboating craft whether for able-bodied or disabled people. It is a truly multipurpose vessel and it will set new challenges, develop new skills and create opportunities for adventure for all on board.”

For mobility impaired people, and those who have additional special needs, the freedom to enjoy independent access to outdoor activities, such as boating, alongside their friends and family is hugely beneficial to their mental and physical health and well-being.

Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust concludes: “The Coulam Wheelyboat V17 is capable of operating anywhere from pleasure boating on canals and small lakes to powerboating on inshore waters, making it perfect for fishing, powerboating or wildlife watching. It’s the most versatile Wheelyboat and it is an essential step forward in the continuing development of the Wheelyboat Trust and nationwide expansion of the important services we provide.”

The Coulam Wheelyboat V17 is the third Wheelyboat model to be designed by naval architect, Andrew Wolstenholme. The previous two are the Mk III and Coulam Wheelyboat V20.  The Trust and Andrew have been working together since 2006.  The V17 is built by Jim Coulam, master boatbuilder, in a joint-enterprise with The Wheelyboat Trust.  Jim is now the Trust’s sole boatbuilder, building the four Wheelyboat models currently in its portfolio.

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. 

The Wheelyboat Trust relies on the support of individuals, companies and charitable organisations to fund its activities. Donations can be made in a variety of ways including online at

To find out more about Wareham Boat Hire, visit: