Wheelyboat Trust celebrates 30 years with first Thames launch

The charity celebrated its 30th anniversary last month by launching a new Suzuki-powered bow-loading vessel on the Thames

The Wheelyboat Trust expanded onto the Thames last month with a special event on 25 July to mark its 30th anniversary.

The charity, which provides boating experiences for disabled people, launched a brand new Coulam V20 – the first bow-loading GRP boat in its fleet.

Long-term partner Suzuki was on hand to provide a DF40A outboard to power the vessel, and Wheelyboat Trust director Andy Beadsley (pictured above) was one of the first to board Rivertime II.

“Being a wheelchair user myself, I understand how important it is for disabled people to take part in activities alongside and on equal terms with everybody else,” he said.

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“Wheelyboats overcome the problems of access to waterborne activities and give disabled people like me freedom and independence on the water.”

The drop-front design of Rivertime II allows for wheelchair accessibility, and the Coulam boat is rated to 1000kg, meaning eight adults can easily be accommodated.

Following a successful launch on the Thames at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre, Berkshire, The Wheelyboat Trust has more ambitious plans for Rivertime II.

With a DF60 outboard also donated by Suzuki, the charity is looking into conducting sea trials and offshore demonstrations in the near future. Maybe they’ll even have to rechristen it Seatime.