watersports inclusion games sailing

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Watersports Inclusion Games 2017

The weekend of 24 June saw the inaugural Watersports Inclusion Games taking place in Dun Laoghaire with 125 volunteers providing activities for over 220 participants with various abilities on the physical, sensory, intellectual and learning difficulty spectrums and representing all ages, demographics and socio-economic backgrounds. The participants and their families had a chance to try sailing, rowing, canoeing/kayaking and fast boat rides. Such was the popularity of Day One that Day Two saw many familiar faces and repeat attendees.

The Games aim was not just about showing participants that watersports are accessible, but also to show to watersports providers that with a little bit of training and planning, they can facilitate people of all abilities and backgrounds to get out on the water. A programme of free Disability Inclusion Training was provided in Dublin, Cork and Galway by Irish Sailing’s Inclusion Officer, Ciarán Murphy. The high interactive training really opens your awareness to the appropriate language and etiquette, strategies for inclusion and understanding of the needs of others.

The atmosphere during the weekend was fantastic, with participants queuing to sign up for as many different activities as possible – from rowing to 1720 keelboat sailing and yachting, to rib-tripping and kayaking under the piers. And the sun shone down on the many volunteers and on the organisers who were Irish Sailing, Canoeing Ireland, Dun Laoghaire Sea Scouts, Dun Laoghaire Sailability, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Spinal Injuries Ireland and Royal St George Yacht Club, with generous resource support from National Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, and Adventure Training Ireland.

The big question is “Will it happen again?” and the answer is a resounding “YES“.

The event was funded by the Sport Ireland Dormant Accounts Sports Inclusion Fund and supported by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company.
If you would like to find out more about Disability Inclusion Training and Accessibility Sailing please contact our Inclusion Officer Ciarán Murphy at ciaran.murphy@sailing.ie.