Adaptive Boating Center

The Adaptive Boating Center (ABC) is a partnership project between the State of Maryland, Anne Arundel County, and the City of Annapolis; all have allocated significant resources towards the building of the $6M project.

Boating & Resource Center

Designed to ensure that people with all types of disabilities can access and enjoy unrestricted access to Chesapeake Bay.

The Annapolis Adaptive Boating Center is a beautiful, fully accessible facility. The ABC features a 16-slip floating dock with an 80-foot T-head pier, adaptive boarding equipment for guests ( lifts and transfer slides), an open-air pavilion, and a 2,600 sq. ft learning center with panoramic views of the water. Certification courses, sailing and boating training courses, and therapy courses for people with disabilities are incorporated into CRAB’s sailing and boating programs, all offered free of charge.

The Don Backe Learning Center is at the heart of the Adaptive Boating Center facility. This universally accessible learning environment allows guests to participate year-round in CRAB educational and training programs. CRAB has consulted with the US Access Board, Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Maryland Department of Disabilities, the Maryland Assistive Technology Reuse Center, the Maryland Division of Rehabilitation, and the Bay Area Center for Independent Living to design the facilities and technology to create a cutting-edge accessible learning environment. 

A Closer Look at the ABC

When you arrive at the CRAB Adaptive Boating Center you will first be struck by its peaceful beauty. Situated on Back Creek in Annapolis, the views from every aspect of the property inspire a sense of communion with the natural world around you.

Next you will notice the convenience and comfort the facility offers. With seven accessible guest parking spaces, five ADA-compliant restrooms, accessible picnic tables, adaptive technology, and a marina that exceeds current ADA requirements, our guests can be sure of an easy and enjoyable experience at the ABC.

The Arthur & Patricia Edwards Family Marina is the only Marina of its kind in the country, featuring 140 feet of raised floating docks, including an 80 foot T-Head, four transfer lifts, transfer slides and boarding ramps all designed to safely board our guests onto any vessel.

When signing up for a CRAB program, guests have their choice of sailing on one of its six Beneteau 22As, its Martin 16 sip/puff sailboat, or its Gemini Freestyle Power Catamaran. Members of the community may also wish to request CRAB assistance with boarding private vessels from this incredible facility.

(Upbeat music playing) 

(Unintelligible voices) 

Welcome, My name is Paul Bollinger, President and CEO of Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating and I wish to welcome you to the Annapolis Adaptive Boating Center on Back Creek in Annapolis. (cutaway to unintelligible conversation) We are standing on our Edwards family dock right now looking back towards the Lawrence B. Taishoff building and the Birney Pavilion which have beautifully landscaped lawns surrounding the facility. What we have done in the past six years, I’ve been told, is nearly miraculous, to accomplish in that time-frame. Yes, it’s been challenging but exceptionally rewarding. In the brief time we’ve been open for thirty days we’ve had nearly 100 guests come through. When they see the new facility compared to where we operated for 32 years at sandy point state park. They’re like “This place is awesome!” “It is Amazing!” One organization that does adaptive sailing in San Diego said “I think We’ve just come to OZ!”. We know we’ve amazed people with what we have here as an asset and what it’s going to allow us to do is to serve two and three times as many guests with disabilities, recovering warriors, and children from underserved communities. Which makes it more exciting than anything to know that we are going to bring quality to life to those people by teaching them how to sail on our beautiful Chesapeake Bay.

The Beauty of

Back Creek

Host your next event at the ABC. 

Discover our new fully ADA compliant facility now available to rent for corporate and social events. The ABC is nestled in the heart of Back Creek and features beautiful views and slowly moving tidal waters. Guests will be captured by beautiful natural light and breathtaking sunsets.

All proceeds from event rentals are used to support CRAB’s adaptive recreation programs.

A photo of the Edwards Family Marina looking out over Back Creek at dusk

Facility Rentals

CRAB proudly offers the Adaptive Boating Center for rent for meetings, banquets, family reunions, weddings, and other festivities. CRAB offers a list of approved vendors for your convenience and all proceeds from the rental contract directly support CRAB therapeutic recreation programs for people with disabilities, recovering warriors and youth from underserved communities.

Rentals Include

  • Access to free parking
  • Full or partial property rental
  • Tables and Chairs available on request
  • Ask about dock access
  • Non-Smoking Building As Seen on The Knot

Features of the ABC

  • Open year-round
  • 18′ Glass Windows
  • Gated Property
  • 25-space parking lot
  • All-Inclusive A/V system
  • Galley kitchen & prep area
  • Property Wide Wi-Fi
  • 15 x 25′ Open-air pavilion with 12′ rear projection screen
  • Garden Landscaping with Living Shoreline
  • All features built to exceed ADA standards
  • 2,600 sq. ft learning center with 1,400 sq. ft. banquet room
  • 85″ QLED TV for presentations and videos
  • 80′ T-Head floating dock with 10-12 foot depth and 16-slip marina
  • Increased adaptive boarding equipment for guests (Hoyer lifts and transfer slides)
  • 180-degree views of Back Creek and the Severn River including the State Capital Building & USNA Chapel

Learn about “A Day With CRAB” original mural by Cindy Fletcher Holden

(Upbeat Music Playing) 

Bo: Welcome to the CRAB Annapolis adaptive boating center. We are exceptionally proud of the center which is now open and we’re already serving guests. Taking them out sailing on Chesapeake Bay. As beautiful as the building is on the exterior, it’s just as beautiful on the inside and we’re exceptionally pleased that we have a mural by Cidny Fletcher Holden. 

Cindy: So this is the drawing. It is an illustration of the day in the life of a CRAB sailor. So it’s morning, they’re getting ready. Midday they’re out sailing and there’s a breeze, and then evening is when it’s quiet and they’re heading home. So, I’m doing this all free hand here so I am mentally placing this compass rose where that duck is. I’m gonna give it 3 weeks. It’s gotta be a good mural, I would like to have more time but I mean, maybe less. 

(Uplifting music playing)

(Beeping as lift rises) 

(Uplifting music building) 

(Unintelligible voices)

(Uplifting music swelling) 

(Uplifting music slowing and building)

Bo: And it has our guests leaving the dock sailing with their wheelchairs left behind and a beautiful blue heron flying over signifying freedom and flight. Then it shows our boats on the bay sailing and having a great time with the backdrop of the capital and the chapel at the naval academy over to the bay bridge. 

(Uplifting music)

(Unintelligible talking)

Cindy: So I think we’re over halfway done. Now we’re down to the details, the people, more sparkle on the water, details on the boat, details on the dock. The details go a little slow. So I’m thinking another week, maybe a week and a half to make it really tight and a good mural. That’s my mantra, for every job I do, it’s gotta be a good mural. So there’s gonna be people on the boats and they will be specific people and there will be more land on the horizon including the bay bridge and there will be words in the sun compasses, that’ll be a fun part. More detail on the dock, wheelchairs are going  right there. More tightening up. I think it’s gonna look good. 

Bo: And then the last panel has a single sailor coming in at dusk and that sailor is Don Backe. The founder of CRAB sailing in and it’s a beautiful tribute to him and to others and it has words in there that our skippers and crews have picked up from our guests over the years about how much freedom and the opportunity and the focus on our guests ability and what it all means and Cindy did a marvelous job of tying it all in together in that mural. 

Cindy: We are finally finished with the mural. I think it turned out quite nice. I would like to thank CRAB and Beth Rossman for making it possible. And my brother, Keith and Karren Larenze for helping me paint it. And I hope you all enjoy seeing it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Learn More About the Adaptive Boating Center

Location & Hours

Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating
7040 Bembe Beach Road
Annapolis, MD 21403

Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Saturday – Sunday by Appointment