THE country’s first wheelchair-accessible V20 powerboat, named Saoirse, was launched at Cork Education and Training Board’s Kinsale Outdoor Education Centre.
UK-based charity The Wheelyboat Trust, which to date has supplied nearly 200 accessible powerboats across the UK and Europe, has provided the vessel and the launch coincided with the third annual Watersports Inclusion Games in Kinsale.
The powerboat will allow children and adult wheelchair users who visit Kinsale to powerboat for the very first time – offering them a brand new and inclusive experience.
Tours of the Bandon estuary and Kinsale harbour can be enjoyed courtesy of the powerboat, as well as giving an opportunity to take part in mackerel fishing and wildlife watching.
It also offers users the chance to receive specialist training, to become certified to skipper the new boat, something that’s not been possible until now. Although there are nine wheelyboats already across Ireland, this is the first and only V20 model, making it one of a kind.
The new powerboat, named ‘Saoirse’ (freedom) was officially launched by the chief executive of the Cork Education and Training Board, Denis Leamy, county mayor Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan, and the director of Kinsale Outdoor Education Centre, Jon Hynes.
Mr Hynes said: ‘Inclusion and accessibility are words synonymous with Kinsale Outdoor Education Centre and what we offer to users.
‘We aim to ensure all our programmes and activities are open to all, and this year, a new chapter is unfolding.
‘Saoirse will serve as a reminder to all that there is a place for everyone to enjoy access to the water, especially now in Kinsale.’