All inclusive aboard charity's new pontoon boat
A SPECIALLY designed boat will give wheelchair users access to a day out on the water in a first for the Sunshine Coast.
Bamboo Projects Education unveiled its new eight-metre pontoon boat at La Balsa Park, Kawana, this morning.
The $60,000 boat has automatic sides that open to create ramps for the wheelchairs to roll straight on.
The boat arrived on the coast last week, and initial "test cruises" have already generated positive feedback.
"To see the smiles that go on their faces, you just go, 'Wow, it's actually happened', you've just got to pinch yourself," Chris Paterson, who founded the charity with his wife Kristy, said.
"When you press the remote control, and the door goes down, and they can actually access the boat, they don't have to get out of their chair. They can now conveniently enjoy an outing on the water without too much fuss."
The boat has multiple aims: providing the simple enjoyment of being out on the water, an opportunity to discuss health and mental health issues in peaceful surroundings, and even perhaps throw out a line to catch a fish or two.
The ease of access onto the boat means those in wheelchairs who are connected to complex hoses and have feeding tubes, no longer need to feel left out.
"It's the first time there's been a boat like this on the Sunshine Coast, the disabled now have that extra avenue to enjoy our waterways too, and it's been made possible because there was a community need and donors pitched in to make it a reality," Mr Paterson said.