Over the seventeen years that we have owned Beacon Park Boats, we have been asked all sorts of questions by potential customers. Some can be answered with a simple 'Yes' or 'No'. Other questions are more complicated, but we always try and provide all the information needed for the customer to have a relaxed and enjoyable holiday. A complex, and sometimes delicate area, is that of mobility. We have been asked many times 'Do you have a suitable boat for my disabled husband/wife?’. Another increasingly common question is 'How will my elderly mum/dad manage on board, as s/he has limited mobility?'
Recently, we have become more aware of how tricky it can be to enjoy a holiday when you need to use a wheelchair or have limited mobility. This is our next challenge! We are putting our skills to good use, designing a boat that will include all the facilities needed by a person with limited mobility and their partner/carer/family, while offering the level of luxury expected from the Beacon Park Boats brand.
Without a doubt, building a mixed ability narrowboat is the most challenging design brief we've tackled, but we are determined to succeed. We're calling it a mixed ability boat as it will be suitable for a disabled person holidaying together with able-bodied friends/family. Ideas are still being formulated but the boat will accommodate four people, and is likely to be the same size as Grouse (60’ long and 8’6” wide). There’ll be wheelchair access to the decks, a lift from the back deck to a cabin, a wheelchair accessible wet room and living space at the front of the boat.
We are really keen to hear from customers who have views about what will and what won't work so please contact us with your sketches and ideas. Our designs should be completed by spring 2018, with the build starting in late summer 2018 and the boat ready for holidays from March 2019.
Keep up to date with the mixed ability boat’s progress by coming back to this blog from time to time.