Adaptive Sailing and Paddling

Explore your fullest potential with us! 


A pillar of PBCB’s mission is providing ‘Access to All’ to the recreational, educational, and therapeutic benefits of boating on Pleasant Bay. Through its Universal Access programs PBCB has traditionally been able to accommodate certain groups with limited access to sailing, ranging from blind and visually impaired sailors to youth and adults with developmental and cognitive challenges to our venerable seniors in conjunction with the area Councils on Aging.


Thanks to the generosity of our loyal donors, construction is now underway at PBCB’s waterfront on a new ADA accessible dock and curbside on a newly-designed drop-off area adjacent to it, which will greatly expand access to the water. These new upgrades will allow us to accommodate wheelchair accessibility going forward and enable individuals with physical disabilities to efficiently move from their vehicle to a sailboat or kayak and in a safe manner.


Additional accessibility enhancements to the new dock will include: two kayak launchers to facilitate adaptive paddling; and a hoyer-style lift and transfer slide box to allow anyone in need of special boarding assistance to safely transfer onto a boat.


To further advance its adaptive program, PBCB will be making appropriate sailboat and kayak seating and steering modifications to accommodate a wider range of physical disabilities and provide a better on-water experience for these participants.


PBCB will also be hosting a three-day Adaptive Sailing Instructor Workshop (conducted by US Sailing) in June which covers all aspects of creating and managing an adaptive sailing program. This course will allow some of our instructor staff to gain valuable insight about adaptive sailing programs through this knowledgeable resource.


All these additions to our campus, equipment and staff training combined will make it possible for PBCB to effectively expand its adaptive sailing and kayaking programs and provide a safe and enjoyable experience to people who may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience the freedom and excitement our sport can offer.


Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean.

-Christopher Reeve


Blind and Vision Impaired Sailing and Paddling

We sail in Flying Scots which are 19 feet overall.  They have a comfortable cockpit area that can accommodate 4 to 6 people. Lessons are conducted by sighted guide sailing instructors.  These sighted guides will be with you throughout all aspects of the program.  Safety and having fun are always our top priority.  Stop by and experience first hand the great comradery this program offers.

When: Thursday evenings in July and August / 5pm-dusk

For more information and to sign up, contact William Donnelly at

Comments from a Blind & Vision Impaired participant:

“I am writing to acknowledge the wonderful opportunity that PBCB has given me through the Blind and Vision-Impaired Sailing program.  I had always wanted to learn to sail, but when I lost my sight in mid-life I never thought I would be able to learn………I remember the first time I stepped aboard a sailboat in the summer of 2016 at PBCB.  I was a bit nervous walking along the age-old dock with my sighted guide, but once I stepped onto the Flying Scot it was like I had come home!  The instructors were wonderful.  I quickly learned the parts of the boat and some general sailing terms.  Once out on the water things got a little more challenging as I learned to judge the direction of the wind, how to steer with the tiller and how to maneuver the sail.  I gained confidence and sailed again during the summer of 2017, continuing to learn and refine my skills.

I would not have had the opportunity to learn to sail were it not for the generosity of PBCB.  This free program has meant the world to me.  It has broadened my horizons and introduced me to new challenges.  It has been a real adventure!”

With appreciation,

Carla Burke