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Long awaited Adaptive Boating Center provides access to the Chesapeake Bay

by Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating 5 May 08:56 PDT

Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) held a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the new Annapolis Adaptive Boating Center on May 2, 2023. The Adaptive Boating Center (ABC) is a $6 million project supported by funding from the State of Maryland, Anne Arundel County, the City of Annapolis, and CRAB donors. The new facility is an essential part of CRAB's strategic plan to increase accessibility to the Chesapeake Bay for people with disabilities, recovering warriors, and youth from underserved communities.

It was standing-room only, with many supporters coming out to show support for the project. Maryland Comptroller Brooke Lierman said, "I salute the work that has been done here. This project is setting an example for the state and nonprofits across the country by building a facility and running a program that is all about inclusivity and resilience. This project will help ensure that all Marylanders reach their full potential." Other speakers included the top elected and appointed leaders who were supporting the project for the past several years. The list includes Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman; Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley; MD State Senator Sarah Elfreth; Delegate Dana Jones; Maryland Dept. of Disabilities Secretary Carol Beatty; Maryland Dept. of Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Woods; Superintendent of the US Naval Academy VADM Sean Buck; Annapolis Alderwoman Rhonda Pindell Charles; and, Alderman Rob Savidge.

The Adaptive Boating Center is performing as expected with more than 70 guests enjoying therapeutic sailing in the first two weeks of the 2023 season. More than 65 percent of the guests have a disability. This clearly demonstrates the Center's commitment to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for people of all abilities. Guests' comments upon seeing the ABC have been inspirational. They knew about it during construction and had seen pictures, but the actual building and grounds have been considered awe inspiring because of their 100% accessibility Lynne Marra, a guest of a Family Sail, said, "The ABC is the best thing that Annapolis showcases."

CRAB Chair of the Board of Directors Jim Nolan said, "The Adaptive Boating Center is an exceptional facility that truly goes above and beyond the requirements set by the American Disabilities Act (ADA). It is a pioneering example of how sailing can and should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their physical abilities. By prioritizing the needs of all sailors, the Adaptive Boating Center has raised the bar for what is possible and has cemented Annapolis' position as the Sailing Capital of the World. This remarkable facility shows that when it comes to sailing, everyone can be included, making it an even more rewarding and enjoyable experience for all."

Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating started as a small nonprofit with a big vision to give people with disabilities opportunities to sail and boat with their neighbors on the Chesapeake Bay. Founded in 1991 by Don Backe, who was paralyzed in a car accident in 1987, CRAB has grown from serving a few hundred guests per year to over 1,200 in 2022.

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