Adaptive Sailing and Kayaking Update
from Executive Director, Mike Trovato
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.
It looks like we may be able to operate this summer!
Based on the information we have recently received regarding re-opening activities in Massachusetts, we think we will be able to adjust and restructure some of our programs so that we can operate safely. We are already in the process of developing campus wide protocols and procedures for social distancing, personal protection and equipment & facility sanitization, in compliance with CDC, Massachusetts and local health department regulations and guidelines. We are also assessing the needed changes in how we structure and deliver our programs, to keep both our participants and our staff safe. Clearly, things are going to be different this year!
After we work out all of these issues, we expect be able to offer Boat & Kayak Rentals and limited Adult Sailing, since they are included in Phase 1 of the Massachusetts Reopening Plan. Our Youth Sailing and our Sailing & Science Day Camp programs both fall under the Day Camp category, which is part of Phase 2 of the reopening plan. Regulatory guidelines and restrictions for those activities presently are being worked out by the authorities, including the Harwich Health Department. Once those regulations are determined, we will adjust the organization and structure of these programs to be in compliance and to provide the maximum level of safety possible. Our ability to start these programs will depend on when the regulations and guidelines are received from the authorities and what operational adjustments will need to be made — in addition to those we are already anticipating. The schedule to do all this is uncertain at this time but we hope that we will be able to start offering programs by late June.
Program sign-ups are currently available on line at www.pbcb.cc . While it will be helpful to know how many people are planning to participate, please keep in mind that times and details may change as we work through this process. We will be communicating additional information as it becomes available via our digital newsletters, emails, social media platforms and, of course, our website.
It is often said that Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, so now that summer is here, we are hopeful that we will soon be welcoming everyone back to PBCB to enjoy some healthy, outdoor activities and that we will be seeing the Bay filled with boats and smiling faces once again!
A note from Ted Baylis, President:
Challenges have always been part of sailing and boating. Shifting winds, varying weather patterns, waves and currents all create challenges, but we learn how to work with them.
And now comes another huge challenge, the coronavirus; the potential illness it brings is certainly changing our world in the near term. Nothing matters compared to the health and wellbeing of our families, our friends, and our community. Here at PBCB we are committed to taking every possible care to do our part to keep this virus in check, stop its spread, and get us back to some level of normalcy as quickly as possible.
PBCB is also being challenged in a number of ways. Some programs will need to be cancelled or rescheduled and others may need restructuring. Our staff has reduced their hours as much as possible to save money, and we are also working with our supporters, collaborators and vendors to address other operational and financial challenges. However, it is very encouraging to see everyone cooperating, working together and supporting each other. We really are all in this together.
The PBCB campus may be closed right now, but we continue to prepare for the summer season. We are working from home, having virtual meetings, contacting seasonal staff, preparing materials and equipment for programs, and adjusting to the challenges as necessary.
We pray that the worst will be behind us soon and the tragedies will have ended. By June or July we hope that self-isolation and social distancing will be a memory, and while we may need to adapt to new ideas on social interaction, the opportunity to get out of the house and on to the water with family & friends may be just what the doctor ordered!
So, while we are heartbroken about the current conditions, we are optimistic about the future, and we are continuing to get ready for summer. This newsletter will update you on some of the things we have been doing. In the meantime, we know that we will weather this storm; we look forward to seeing everyone out on the water and to helping the community to recover from this challenge and move on to the better days that undoubtedly lie ahead.
PBCB is taking precautionary safety measures due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and suspending all organized programs, meetings and Speaker Series, and closing our buildings until April 30. The staff is working remotely and will receive emails and telephone calls during business hours.
We will likely reschedule our June Sailabration Gala and will announce the new date.
Still planning for the summer season, knowing that being outdoors and on the water in a sailboat will be one of the healthiest places you can pass the time this summer! When the coast is clear for all of us to go outside and recreate again, PBCB will be ready.
Welcome Tom Leach, Sailing Director!
The Friends of Pleasant Bay (FOPB) with Pleasant Bay Community Boating (PBCB) have announced a commissioning ceremony for a solar-powered floating classroom research vessel, unique to Cape Cod. The private ceremony will take place on August 25 at PBCB’s direct waterfront campus, and is primarily an event to thank supporters of the project.
The floating classroom research vessel (FCRV), named “Friend of Pleasant Bay,” is a 37’ long, 12’ wide, solar-powered electric-motor pontoon vessel that can accommodate up to 29 passengers and two crew. It can also accommodate 10 wheelchairs at reduced capacity. Solar panels on the vessel’s roof deliver power to the electric motors. The shallow draft of the FCRV will help students and scientists to access remote areas of the Bay and the near-silent electric motors will allow quiet approach to seals, birds and other wildlife that live on PleasantBay.
Although a very few floating classroom research vessels exist on Cape Cod, a solar-powered floating research classroom vessel is a first.
The idea for a FCRV was spawned at a meeting in 2017 among representatives from FOPB, PBCB, Center for Coastal Studies and Chatham Marconi Maritime Center. Taking the lead, FOPB researched floating classrooms, settled on a builder — American Pontoon in Manning, SC — and raised the funds to build the FCRV. The vessel was designed, with input from all its originators, specifically to meet the demands of education and research.
Important early decisions were that the FCRV would be gifted to PBCB and that three to five years of maintenance costs would be included. PBCB has the facilities –- dock, water access, mooring – and experience with marine education programs and enrollment. Further decisions involved collaboration among the Monomoy and Nauset school systems, Lighthouse Charter School, Cape Cod Regional Technical School, Chatham Marconi Maritime Center and Center for Coastal Studies to ensure that use of the FCRV would be strictly educational and research-related.
FOPB has also already made education grants to schools in Brewster, Chatham, Harwich and Orleans for over 32 floating classroom trips in the 2018-19 school year.
Ted Baylis, PBCB’s President, noted “We are indebted to FOPB for their enormous contribution. The FCRV is a game-changer for everyone, but especially for PBCB. The “Friend of Pleasant Bay” will make it possible for us to expand our marine education and environmental stewardship programs. She’ll enable us to do shoulder-season school programs as well as support off-season research by Center for Coastal Studies and others.”
He added, “Pleasant Bay is a precious asset. You’d be surprised by how many Cape Cod kids have never been out on the water. In their lifetimes, they will be facing issues of ever-rising seas and they need to be familiar with these coastal zone processes so they can make the best possible decisions for their communities.”
The FCRV will serve as a dedicated research vessel for scientists, an educational platform for Cape Cod children, locals and visitors to the Cape and will be available to other organizations that are seeking a unique learning experience on Pleasant Bay.
There’s lots going on at PBCB’s campus as we get ready to greet summer, sailors, students and guests! Have you seen the latest Newsletter? It’s chock full of information on upcoming programs, events and happenings. From Bioblitz to First Sail, from Fins, Whiskers and Claws to the Monomoy High School Sailing Team practicing at PBCB, we’ve covered it all! And there are some great photos too! Check it out by clicking here