What is Sailability?
We are a group of dedicated volunteers who envisioned and implemented an opportunity within our community to bring the sport of sailing to those individuals who were physically challenged, so they could partake in this fun activity. Sailability Greater Tampa Bay is a 501(c)3 organization.
Since our inception, we have been able to have a positive impact on many individuals. Our program has graduated many sailors who are mentally or physically challenged, as well as able bodied children, adults, and seniors. Some of the physically challenged individuals we’ve been proud to serve include quadriplegics, paraplegics, amputees, stroke survivors, and those with neurological impairments such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and multiple sclerosis.
We are very proud and appreciative that all of Sailability’s accomplishments have been made possible because of our extremely dedicated volunteer staff.
Sailability Greater Tampa Bay’s mission is to provide affordable, accessible, sailing activities and education to children and adults of all abilities, focusing on community integration to improve the quality of life for all involved.
The concept of our program was born in March of 2001 when a small group of people envisioned that the sport of sailing was one in which individuals who were physically challenged could partake with the right support. They knew that boats could be adapted to individuals’ needs, thereby affording those with physical limitations the opportunity to experience the fun in sailing.
By June of 2001, Sailability owned three Access Dinghies and by December 2002, we owned a fleet of six. By 2003, a grant awarded by the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation allowed us to purchase a vessel in which a ventilator dependent quadriplegic would be able to sail independently.
In 2003, we became the first organization to provide sailing instruction to the Special Olympic athletes in the State of Florida. Their experiences were so positive that the Special Olympic organization in Pinellas County contracted with us to train their athletes and unified teams in sailing.
In 2004, after training provided by Sailability, Lynn Moers set a record as the first ventilator dependent quadriplegic to sail independently in the U.S. on an Access Dinghy. In June of 2008 when Sailability hosted their event for veterans, Lynn led the way for our returning Iraqi vets, demonstrating the opportunities our waters could provide to them.
Today, Sailability continues to make sailing accessible to people of all abilities through outreach events for many organizations and community sailing events. As we grow into the future, we anticipate expanding our program and touching many more lives!