New safety boat grant
A WINDFALL of more than $40,000 will see Tin Can Bay Sailability purchase a new safety vessel to monitor their disabled sailors.
Tin Can Bay Sailability vice-president Patrick Nugent said the money sourced from the Jupiter's Casino Community Benefit Fund was great news for the not-for-profit organisation and the 1500 disabled sailors they service each year.
The new boat will be called Ryan's Reward after president and the Tin Can Bay's organisation founder Barry Ryan.
"There are a lot involved with Sailability, about 50 volunteers, but he drives the bus," Mr Nugent said.
The organisation has been operating in Tin Can Bay for just over four years and has a fleet of eight boats.
The new motorised vessel is pivotal to the operation of the group and allows two safety officers to keep an eye on all sailors and aid them when in trouble.
It will be ready to go in about six weeks after being built from scratch to Sailability's specifications.
The sailing fleet includes Access 303 and 202 boats.
The 303s have two sails (a main and a jib) while the 202s just have a main sail and are easier to operate.
Mr Nugent said all the sail boats had been given to the organisation by local charities.
"The boats cost nearly $10,000 each, so we have done a good job in a short time to get that many boats," Mr Nugent said.
He said the group sailed every Friday with volunteer skippers taking sailors on the water.
Mr Nugent said the experience was fantastic for all involved.
"We have one particular disabled sailor learning to sail by himself," Mr Nugent said.
"He will eventually sail solo, we are very pleased for him."
The bulk of the sailors come from the Gympie Special School and the Maryborough Special School.
Mr Nugent said they also had sailors from the nursing homes at Tin Can Bay.
The group is always looking for more volunteers and not just skippers.
"There is a lot of work to do behind the scenes with administration and maintenance work on the boats," Mr Nugent said.
Anyone interested in volunteering can ring Patrick Nugent on 5486 2783.