Our Story

Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) started in 1991 as a non-profit providing the thrill, freedom and therapeutic value of sailing to those with disabilities, recovering warriors and youth from at-risk communities. The organization was founded by Don Backe who was paralyzed in his 50's from a car accident in 1989. He had been an avid sailor all of his life and his friends got him back into sailing to improve his spirits and to rekindle his love of sailing. Don took his enthusiasm for sailing and built an organization that could share the experience with many other people with disabilities, wounded warriors, and children from at-risk neighborhoods.

Today CRAB provides sailing experiences and instruction to nearly 1,000 guests every year from its base of operations at Sandy Point State Park.  Thanks to the numerous CRAB volunteer Skippers, Crew, and Support Staff sailing programs are held every week from April through October and include SailFree Sundays, Group Sails, Sailing Camps and Clinics, and Regattas.

In 2017, the CRAB fleet was modernized and six new Beneteau First 22A's (A for adaptive) boats were acquired. The old Freedom 20's were sold to Baltimore's Downtown Sailing Center to continue serving persons with disabilities.

CRAB sailing operations are based at Sandy Point State Park off of Route 50 near the Western side of the Bay Bridge. CRAB's office is located at 177 Defense Highway, Suite 9, Annapolis, MD 21401.

CRAB relies on donors, sponsors and grants to support its boating programs and operations. Over 100 volunteers provide the primary source of staff for sailing events. CRAB's volunteer Board of Directors provides the leadership and strategy for the organization. CRAB has two full-time staff and two part-time staff who provide day to day management and oversight for its safe and successful programs.

To volunteer, please see our Volunteer page.

To donate, please see our Donation page.

don backe

Don Backe, CRAB Founder

Don was an extraordinary man whose vision made CRAB possible. Learn more about Don.