The Wheelyboat Trust has chosen Seawork, Europe’s largest commercial marine and workboat exhibition, for the premiere of its latest design of wheelchair-accessible Wheelyboat, the Coulam Wheelyboat V17.

Developed in conjunction with Coulam Ltd, the V17 will be the Trust’s most versatile Wheelyboat to date suitable for pleasure boating on canals to powerboating on inshore waters and everywhere else in between.

The V17 is 5.3m long and is the only GRP bow loading boat of this size.  The bow door lowers to form a ramp for roll-on, roll-off boarding into an open and level cockpit that seats eight people on inland waters and six on inshore waters.  The shallow-V hull with keel will reach speeds up to 30mph with a Suzuki DF60ATL.  Like all Wheelyboats it can be driven from a wheelchair and is available in remote or tiller steered versions.  The self-draining cockpit is accessible throughout enabling disabled people to skipper and crew the V17 independently.  A full range of optional extras are supplied – A-frame and nav lights, ski/towing post, seating, anti-fouling, navigation and fishfinder, bimini and storage covers, purpose-built twin axle V17 trailer, etc.

The first V17 will be going to Wareham Boat Hire where it will provide disabled people with pleasure boating trips in Poole Harbour, powerboating, powerboat training and RYA Powerability.  A tiller version has been sold to a fishery in Ireland to benefit disabled anglers and fundraising for a project on the Thames for a Sea Scout troop has been successfully concluded and their V17 is on order.  The Trust is raising funds to support two more V17 projects – one on Anglesey and the other in Derbyshire – so before the first one has even left the factory, the V17’s unique characteristics are generating a lot of interest.

The brand new model is based on the larger 6.2m Coulam Wheelyboat V20 developed by the Trust with Coulam Ltd in 2014.  At 5.3m long, the V17 is an important development as it replaces the Trust’s aluminium Mk III Wheelyboat production of which ceased last year.  The Mk III was mostly used as a pleasure boat on inland waters but was limited in its capability.  The V17 will do everything the V20 does but in a smaller package.  The tiller version will be popular as an angling boat.

The accessible features of the V17 make it the perfect workboat/water taxi/safety and rescue craft and enquiries for a wide range of applications are being received.  Seawork is therefore the perfect venue to launch the new model.  The Trust is very grateful to Suzuki Marine for sponsoring its stand at the show.

Matt Jones, Director of Wareham Boat Hire Ltd, says: “We are looking forward to the official handover of our V17 at Seawork. We have operated a Mk III Wheelyboat as a self-drive pleasure boat since 2012 providing hundreds of disabled people with trips upstream on the River Frome. The V17 will enable us to expand our activities for our disabled clients into powerboating and powerboat training downstream in Poole Harbour.  We have registered as an RYA Training Centre specifically to operate the V17 and will also be running RYA Powerability courses that aim to encourage and support disabled who want to take up power and motor boating. Every day we see the pleasure that boating provides and are determined that everybody should be taking part irrespective of disability.”

Andy Beadsley, Director of The Wheelyboat Trust, said: “The launch of the brand new Coulam Wheelyboat V17 model marks another milestone in the development of the Trust and an important step forward in the opportunities we create that enable disabled people to fully participate in activities on the water.”

The Wheelyboat Trust relies on the support of individuals, companies and charitable organisations to fund its activities. Donations can be made in a variety of ways including online at


The post The Wheelyboat Trust unveils latest wheelchair-accessible powerboat at Seawork appeared first on All At Sea.