Sailors aboard Sail to Prevail boat
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Disabled Sailing Program see video

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION click here for a PDF flyer (1MB)

Each summer, approximately 1,000 people with disabilities learn the skills of sailing in our fleet of uniquely adapted, 20-foot sailboats. Our programs strongly encourage disabled individuals to be active participants by steering the boat and trimming sails. The measurable outcomes demonstrate increased self-confidence in all parts of their daily lives, the camaraderie of teamwork, and improved leadership skills. Since 1982, Sail To Prevail has improved the lives of more than 18,000 people through therapeutic sailing programs that focus on improving the mind, body and spirit.


Physically Disabilities: When needed, participants are boarded onto our boats using a transfer lift. They are then safely secured into specially designed pivoting seats allowing
them the freedom of movement to sail the boat. Physical disabilities include,
but are not limited to, paralysis, blindness, and amputation.

Intellectual Disabilities: The Sail To Prevail instructors are trained to help make sailors out of people with developmental disabilities such as ADD/ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, and Down Syndrome

Cancer: The Sail Away from Cancer Program was established and pioneered by Sail To Prevail. Pediatric cancer patients sail with their resident doctors and family members to create a unique “out of hospital” experience. This specialized program has demonstrated positive outcomes.

Veterans with Disabilities: Honoring those who have served our country, the Disabled Veterans Program offers a free weekend of sailing to our distinguished veterans wounded in combat.

The Broad Spectrum of Autism: Children with autism are designated certain tasks aboard the sailboats to improve their focus and concentration skills. Young sailors are encouraged to sail with a caregiver or parent, if appropriate. (See Participants Utilizing Family For Support / PUFFS).

Emotional Disabilities: This new program is dedicated to those individuals who are experiencing emotional trauma in their lives. Our methodology seeks to enhance the positive aspects derived from participating in the soothing and comforting environment of sailing.

Traditional Therapies: Sailing and other participatory activities can be important in the continued physical, mental, and societal re-entry success of people in physical therapy. Pulling lines and steering the boat can provide beneficial physical and occupational therapy. Additionally, sailing rejuvenates the mind and provides an opportunity to rebuild confidence and experience progress.

Wednesday Night Racing Series: Each Wednesday evening, Narragansett Bay is the venue for lively, spirited and fun racing among our more advanced sailors with disabilities. Each 20-foot adaptive sailboat has two disabled and one able-bodied crew. The action is competitive and leads to a celebration for all after the 10-race series, culminating in a trophy presentation for the winner at the end of the summer.

In addition to the programs cited above, Sail to Prevail also offers:

Paralympic Training & Regattas: Sail To Prevail has all three of the Paralympic Class boats (23-foot “Sonar" for a three-person team, a “SKUD 18” for a two-person team, and a "2.4 Metre" for an individual). These sailboats are available to train disabled individuals who aspire to compete for a place on the USA Olympic/Paralympic Team.

Facility & Instructors:
First-time and experienced sailors are welcome at Sail To Prevail. Our program is available to all people with disabilities and has programs designed to meet specific needs.

The Sail To Prevail docks are located at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island, and parking is onsite. All docks and facilities are 100% accessible, including Hoyer and Spectrum lifts for transfers. Our sailing instructors are certified by US Sailing and have years of experience, including teaching and coaching sailors with disabilities. We provide all required safety equipment, and our instructors accompany every group on the water.

The Sail To Prevail fleet in Newport includes five 20-foot “Independence” sailboats, which were custom designed and built so that even the most disabled sailor can handle the boat. Each "Independence" contains two swiveling supported seats for those in wheelchairs. Families, friends and doctors are encouraged to join, as our boats can accommodate up to five participants and one instructor.

Registration and Fee:
Sailing in our 20-foot “Independence” fleet is available from mid-June to mid-August on weekdays at 10:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m., as well as weekends by appointment. Safety equipment is provided and the limit is 5 total participants per boat. The fee is $70 per BOAT (up to 5 people; so it is only $14 per person if the boat has 5 people!) for two hours of lessons or recreational sailing, and advanced instruction and coaching are available upon request. Need-based scholarships are available upon request.

Registration is first come first serve after March 1. Please download a Registration form from this website.

To schedule a date/time to sail, please contact our Sailing Director: 401-849-8898

Click arrow (mid-screen) for a PDF (2.5MB) about the Disabled Sailing Program.