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Recommendations On Accessible Boats?

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I'm looking at options for taking my mum on a Broads holiday and wondered if anyone has any recommendations for boats which are accessible by older people with slight mobility and major confidence issues.

Mum is worried about being able to cope with the steps which on older boats are often a little challenging and also the height of the hull for getting on and off the quay. I like the look of the Broadsman type boats from Richardsons as they have much shallower steps.

Does anyone have any recommendations for boats which are equally accessible? Numbers wise at least 3 of us but if the boat was on the larger side we could also invite my better halfs parents as well so a max of 5, ideally with en-suite facilities.

Preference would be ok the southern Broads but happy to go anywhere a suitable boat is based.

Thanks Andy

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I recently moored up next to a boat, and the couple aboard had their 91 year old mother in tow, ok she was a bit tottery, but she managed admirably (and set off at a pace towards Lathams that the couple had difficulty catching up. my suggestion would be take a set of caravan steps, and avoid locations with large tidal variation (for example Great Yarmouth and Reedham) other than that the caravan steps and some willing assistance should see you through most places.

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Single level boat without a doubt, one that maybe has a decent front well so she could sit out. Cut out transom with steps. That's probably going to be as accessible as a boat gets. Pick you stops and overnight mooring carefully, ones where you can moor stern on. 

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If you like Broadsman but accessibility is a primary concern then perhaps take a look at a Broadway or Broadlander?

Broadlander has a similar layout but is 45ft rather than the 38ft of Broadway so is considerably more spacious. She's the only one of that type to be built, whereas quite a few of the 38's are available.

The RC45's (Broadsman, Carousel, Monaco etc) will have steps up and down into the cockpit area so that may or may not suit.

I'm not the biggest bathtub fan, but I have driven Broadlander and was fairly impressed.

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I took my 90yr old mum last month in a bathtub (my own Horizon 35), so hopefully this post will be of use to you.

Not the same mum that Grendel was talking about, but could well have been given the description of setting off down the road! Saying that, she was noticeably less fast than last year and less confident getting on and off the boat. Last year I had to tell her off for jumping down the big drop onto the Potter Heigham quiet moorings, heaven help us! I would agree with the avoidance of a big tidal range, maybe the northern Broads would be more suitable?

And this year I did have my sister with me too, which was a blessing as it meant getting her on and off, (along with stopping the dog from trying to push her off) was far easier than me on my own.

Advantages of bathtub - 1. single level so once in the boat, very easy. No worries about her moving around while underway, apart from the slight lip over the door into the front well. 2. She could see nicely when sitting out in the front well. She did want to sit up on the deck bit of the well, but I persuaded her back down again!

Disadvantages of bathtub - 1. She couldn't see so well when sitting on the sofa. She is only 5' nothing! I'd suggest a design with a 'bench seat' for helm (rather than a single helm seat), that fits two people facing forwards. or a few of them have another bench seat on the starboard side as well. Or take a stool with you for her to perch on. 2. - the steep drop down into the aft well on a  Horizon 35 was not very easy to manage. Last year she was fine but this year, her knees didn't want to bend very well when coming down them (backwards) and she didn't want to go forwards at all. I do already have a caravan step on the middle step which makes it slightly less daunting, but obviously you have to get one that fits the step with no overhang! The Horizon 35 has a noticeably steeper set of steps than many bathtubs, so asking the boatyard for advice would be sensible. The ones with the engine outside the boat have a larger flat platform to stand on.

I have a folding step too, which I did use once for her to get off the side, but unless the quay is horizontal, it's a bit useless. eg wild moorings. When the deck was at the same height as the quay heading, it was oh, so much easier. Things you don't normally think much about for yourself.

I'm sure other types of boats will also have their list of pros and cons. For me, the fact it's on one level when underway was the major bonus. Elderly people often don't realise their limitations and don't like being told to 'sit down, you cant wander about up and down the steps when cruising'.

See photo






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