Family Sails

Inclusive sailing program designed for people with disabilities, their families, and caregivers.

Family Sails

Sailing is one of the few genuinely inclusive recreational sports where people with and without disabilities share the same experience. In addition, working as a team sailing the boat creates new and rewarding experiences that serve to enhance family bonds.

Families enjoy being on the water in a safe and beautiful environment that serves as a wonderful learning experience for everyone. Trained volunteer skippers and crew ensure the comfort and safety of everyone. For families and caregivers this can be a wonderful respite that is sure to provide special memories as everyone enjoys sailing together on the majestic Chesapeake Bay.

Family Sails are offered free of charge and take place one Sunday and one Thursday afternoon each month. Other opportunities may be available.

Who Qualifies for the Family Sail Program?

CRAB offers its Family Sail Program to anyone with a disability, plus their family and caregivers. To be eligible to sail, the person with a disability must participate.

  • Sails are free of charge.
  • Sailboats are designed to accommodate a guest with any type of disability.
  • Family, Friends and Caregivers are welcome to join in the fun!
Photo of CRAB guest in wheelchair, between a standing caregiver on the right and a kneeling CRAB volunteer on the left.
A group photo of a family enjoying a sail on a CRAB sailboat during a family sailing program.
A photo of a smiling CRAB guest on the water in a CRAB sailboat.

“For someone who grew up defined by disability, being able to steer a sailboat was a very, very big deal! Thank you for making this all possible!”

– Joan Chevalier

Join the Family Sail Program

If the Family Sail Program sounds right for you click the interest form button below and you will be contacted by CRAB staff to register for an event. Caregivers, families and people with disabilities can initiate the registration process.

Family Sails are open for scheduling 2 months in advance, but that doesn’t mean you missed your chance. There may be more opportunities to sail so submit a registration form and get on the list today!

Over three decades ago, Chesapeake Region  Accessible Boating (CRAB) began providing the thrill, freedom, and therapeutic value of sailing to  people with disabilities, wounded warriors, and children from underserved communities. During  this time period, CRAB operated from Maryland’s Sandy Point State Park, just north of Annapolis.  After working for over six-years on public funding support with the State of Maryland, Anne Arundel County, and the City of  Annapolis, CRAB has a new Annapolis Adaptive Boating Center (ABC). The public funds were more than matched by the private fundraising from foundations and individual donors in support of the $6.2M capital project.

The ABC opened on April 4, 2023 and hosted a VIP ribbon-cutting with Federal, State, County, City elected and appointed officials with major donors in attendance. The ABC grounds, buildings and marina are 100% accessible and sustainable. CRAB offers boating instruction, STEM programming, and  exercise classes taught by licensed instructors or therapists. The modern docks will exceed ADA  standards and be fitted with several Hoyer lifts to lift and transfer guests from their wheelchairs  into CRAB sailboats or privately owned boats. The marina will also have a slip with a boat  lift for a new pontoon boat that’ll be able to take guests in their wheelchairs out on the  bay to fish, crab, wakeboard, or to earn their Maryland boating certification. The marina will  have an 80-foot T-head of unobstructed docking space for larger boats that may transit the  area and wish to host guests with disabilities. The property will feature a serenity park with  a pavilion to allow guests and their families or friends to enjoy a picnic lunch while overlooking  all of the boats coming and going on Back Creek. Outdoor instruction on the lawn will provide an  enjoyable backdrop overlooking the CRAB fleet. When the Adaptive Boating Center is complete in  2021 it will be the premier facility for people with disabilities, wounded warriors, and children  from underserved communities to access and enjoy the Chesapeake Bay. We expect many more CRAB  guests to share the same feeling as one guest who told us, “Thank you for taking me the farthest  I’ve ever been from my wheelchair and the memories of the accident that put me in it.” We look  forward to seeing you at the ribbon cutting.

A photo of CRAB volunteers helping guests transfer from their wheelchair to a CRAB sailboat.

Things to Consider

  • What time of day do you prefer to sail?
  • Who would you like to sail with you?
  • What type of activities are you looking to participate in?
A photo of a CRAB sailboat with gusts and volunteers on the water.

I’m Ready to Sail

Fill out all of the registration documents. Once your documents are received, we will contact you via email with confirmation and next steps.

A photo of a CRAB guests being transferred from the dock to a CRAB sailboat using CRAB's aqua lift, previously referred to as a Hoyer lift.
A photo of CRAB volunteers helping a guest using the transfer box to move from the dock to a CRAB sailboat.

How will I get on the boat?

CRAB uses lifts and transfer slides to safely board guests with mobility challenges on sailboats. The Gemini power catamaran has a ramp for easy access without leaving your wheelchair. CRAB staff and volunteers receive extensive training before they are qualified to assist guests with the transfer process. Every guest is provided the utmost care for a safe and comfortable boarding experience.