Despite running scores of trips each year, we understand that for many of our participants, this is not only their first time on Wetwheels, this is their first time on the water.
They have heard tales of this powerboat that does 30 knots, where you can drive the boat in your wheelchair. They have seen clips on YouTube that show people getting wet from sea spray and sitting between two 300 horsepower engines, the same as a Ferrari. For many, their daily world is one of protection, risk avoidance, warmth, supported by people who understand their disabilities in an environment that is on one level and forms part of their daily, "safe" routine.
Our crews never lose sight of this. By goint to sea most days on Wetwheels, boating and the sea are part of our "normality" but we never forget what a seismic difference it is for our participants. Not just the new sights and sounds but "How will I get on the boat?". "Will they hurt me putting on a lifejaket?" "Will they understand my disability?" "Will I get seasick?" are all legitimate worries to have. And we see that anxiety manifest in many ways. Rocking backwards and forwards. Ordinarily talkative people go completely quiet. We have seen self-harming, screaming and even, on occassion, a complete refusal to board the boat.
But we have also seen the difference that 90 minutes on Wetwheels makes. The complete and utter transformation. Often to the surprise of friends and carers of those attending. Whilst we know this is almost always the outcome, we decided to commission a piece of work that would help allay those preliminary fears and anxieties before participants even boarded the boat, something they could watch in their homes or at school before joining us.
By consulting with different participant groups and with the generous support of the Graham High Trust, we have produced a short 3 minute video and produced an accompanying story board.
We hope these will act as tools to be used by carers and schools and groups to help plan your day with us.
You can access the video by clicking HERE and the Storyboard .PDF by clicking HERE. Both will also be available through our Facebook page or by contacting the office.