Our Story

Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) started in 1991 as a nonprofit providing the thrill, freedom, and therapeutic value of sailing for anyone with a disability, recovering warriors, and youth from underserved communities. The organization was founded by Don Backe who was paralyzed in his 50's from a car accident in 1989. Don 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 with his wife, friends, and supporters built an organization to share the experience with thousands of people who would not otherwise have the opportunity.

Today CRAB provides sailing experiences and instruction to over 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 Family Sail 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 and modified for our guests.  In addition, the fleet offers a Martin 16 with a "sip & puff" steering system that allows a quadripeligic skipper to adjust the sails and move the tiller.

CRAB is focused on  building the premier adaptive boating center in the country with the support of the State of Maryland, Anne Arundel County, and City of Annapolis.  The center will feature a state of the art learning center and floating docks with boarding equipment that will allow CRAB volunteers to board guests with any disability.

CRAB relies on donors, sponsors, and grantors to support its boating programs and operations. Over 135 trained volunteer skippers, crew, and support staff provide the manpower to support CRAB sailing programs. CRAB's volunteer Board of Directors provides the leadership, policies, and strategy for the organization. CRAB has four full-time staff and five part-time staff who provide day-to-day management and oversight for safe and successful programs.

We welcome everyone to the CRAB family of friends and supporters!

To volunteer, please see our Volunteer page.

To donate, please click the button at the top of the page.

don backe

Don Backe, CRAB Founder

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