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Disability access guidelines for recreational boating facilities
RecCom Working Group 14 (2004). Disability access guidelines for recreational boating facilities. PIANC Report. PIANC = AIPCN: Brussel. ISBN 2-87223-147-1. 36 pp.
Part of: PIANC Report. PIANC = AIPCN: Brussels, more

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Document type: Legislation

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  • RecCom Working Group 14

    The purpose of this report is to present guidance, from a global perspective, for reasonable and cost-effective access to recreational boating facilities by persons with disabilities. Statistics show that 1 in 4 people throughout the world have some type of disability. Those with disabilities, on the other hand, have greater barriers to overcome and may be precluded from boating activities regardless of their desire to participate. In many cases, laws and regulations were developed with landside activities in mind and have caused problems when inappropriately applied to boating facilities. Making such facilities more accessible is desirable and has resulted in increased participation by persons with disabilities in recreational boating.

    The primary function of a recreational boating facility is to provide berthing and/or launching of a variety of recreational boats, including sail, power, and paddle types. Berths and moorings can serve long- or short-term needs; launch sites can use ramps, hoists, or simple "carry-down." Ancillary activities may be found at boating facilities as well, including auto parking, toilet facilities, showers, food stores and services, boat sales, fuel sales, boat stores and storage, clubs and other recreational pursuits. When considering access improvements at a boating facility, it is desirable to provide an unobstructed path of travel for the full range of activities.

    This guidance document is provided from the perspective of those with disabilities. While the overall goal is to provide disability access on a cost-effective basis, the methods used to reach the goal can vary around the world. The design suggestions emphasize the architectural approach that can usually be accommodated in new facilities with sufficient area for implementation, but may be problematic on sites with limited area when combined with large changes in elevation, and especially so with existing fully developed facilities. For these difficult sites, the designer is challenged to find an appropriate solution that meets the goal for disability access. Solutions are not necessarily highly technical or costly, but do need to be well thought out.

    The "access for all" concept can create design conflicts of its own. An improvement for one type of impairment may not improve access for all users. Until ideal solutions can be found for these access conflicts, reasonable compromises are desirable. Sometimes it is judged too difficult to improve access for wheelchair users, and then other access improvements are assumed to be infeasible as well, or simply overlooked.

    Ultimately, the goal is to make boating more accessible for all, which requires properly outfitted watercraft and support programs. In particular, this report includes information on these resources for persons with disabilities.

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