Sailing for people with disabilities
CVSS is a registered charity run entirely by volunteers
We make sailing accessible, inexpensive and FUN for people with disabilities of all ages
We do this using special boats and equipment and having a positive approach:
"You want to sail - let's work out how you can do so safely"
CVSS is based at the Rickmansworth Aquadrome and has been since March of 2001.
During the Coronavirus Pandemic we were unable to sail at all during the 2020 season, but plan to restart in a restricted way during late May 2021 initially only on a Saturday. On Saturdays there will be 4 slots for sailing or katakanuing mornings (10:00 - 12:30) and in the afternoons (13:00 - 15:00). New arrangements will be in place and it will be necessary to book first. More details about how to book will be published shortly.
We share facilities with the Rickmansworth-based Bury Lake Young Mariners (BLYM). This enables activities for both organisations to thrive.
We are part of 'Sailability' the RYA’s national programme enabling people with disabilities to try sailing and take part regularly. RYA is the governing body for sailing in the UK.
Visit BLYM's website here.
Visit RYA's Sailability page here.
What can CVSS do for you if you are disabled?
Affordable opportunities to have fun outdoors in a safe enviroment!
Enjoy the fresh air in a beautiful lake
Try sailing or katakanuing
Gain confidence and independence!
Make new friends!
We welcome all ages
We welcome sailors from all over Hertfordshire as well as those that travel (sometimes) considerable distances to join us. This includes schools, groups and individuals from Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and several London Boroughs.
We welcome sailors of all ages and cater for a wide range of disabilities including autism, health conditions, sensory difficulties, amputees, stroke victims, moderate and severe learning disabilities, diabetics and mental health conditions. Some of our sailors attend alone, while others come with family members, partners or friends, or as part of a group with schools, colleges, care homes or social groups such as Mencap.
Our fleet of access dinghies are specially designed and built to match our sailors' needs. They can be adapted to meet the individual needs of sailors and enable them to enjoy an experience on the water. In normal times a sailor can sail with one of our volunteers (a 'Buddy Sailor'), but also with a family member or support worker with the consent of the Leader on the day. However, when we plan to return to sailing in May 2021 due to safety requirements relating to COVID-19 it will not be possible for volunteers to be 'Buddy Sailors'. Instead sailors will need to either sail on their own or with a member of their family or bubble.
We have two hoists plus slings and slider boards to enable access for those who require them and our volunteers are specially trained in their use. However, due to safety requirements relating to COVID-19 it might only be possible to use one of the hoists with the support of family members or persons in the same bubble.
Sailors are encouraged to sail and with practice some are able to sail on their own. If you, a family member or friend would like to try sailing please get in touch here
CVSS is run entirely by volunteers. As a Volunteer and after initial training – you'll welcome sailors, make sure they're correctly prepared for sailing, help them in and out of boats (using a hoist if required), act as a 'buddy' sailor, helm and crew safety boats, prepare the site and maintain our boats and equipment.
We liaise with BLYM (our host sailing club), the RYA, Councillors and local officials; we raise funds, produce publicity material, maintain the website, visit schools, apply for grants, prepare our accounts and give presentations to the public.
When someone wants to volunteer – we find them a job.
Volunteers mostly come from the local area but some travel many miles to support the group. The 90 or more regular volunteers are aged between 15 and 94 and some are disabled themselves. Some are retired; some are in full-time employment or education, house-husbands, carers and job-seekers.
Training is provided to match the interests of individual volunteers and the needs of the organisation: above all – to ensure the safety of everyone.
Training includes: first aid, power boat and safety boat driving, sailing skills, radio use, child protection training and disability awareness.
CVSS is a pilot site for the RYA Volunteer development scheme and we always spend a significant part of our annual income on training.
You do not need to have worked with disabled people or have sailing experience to volunteer: you just need to want to work in a team, to help disabled people sail and enjoy the experience. Some volunteers work 4 days a week during the sailing season and others work 3 hours every fortnight. We accommodate many different levels of availability.
Hot and cold drinks and biscuits are available to all volunteers on sailing days.
All adult CVSS volunteers have a mandatory DBS check.
If you'd like to get involved, please get in touch
Application for Voluntary Membership
Return to About Us