Assessing access

A self assessment tool for clubs and centres providing sailing opportunities who want to consider how accessible their venue and facilities are.

Sport England state that 1 in 5 people in England have a long standing limiting disability or illness. Almost 70% of disabled people are aged over 50 and almost 75% of disabled people have more than one impairment. Not everyone who has a long standing limiting disability will identify as such.

All these facts point to those involved in providing sailing opportunities needing to consider how accessible their venue and facilities are.

The Equalities Act applies to all organisations that provide a service to the public or a section of the public and to anyone that sells goods or provides facilities:

  • Clubs that provide RYA training or other services to members of the public may be considered to be Service Providers, as will most commercial RTCs.
  • Private members’ clubs if they fall within the definition of an Association (bodies with 25 or more members; and that have rules regulating who can become members (though not necessarily formal or written); and that have a process of selection to become a member).
  • Community Amateur Sports Clubs should also assume that they are covered by the Act.

Under the Equalities Act there is a duty to make ‘reasonable’ adjustments to the physical features of premises in order to ensure that there are no physical barriers to the services and facilities on offer.

What is reasonable will vary from issue to issue and will be influenced by the size of the club or RTC, its financial resources, the cost of the adjustments and the particular circumstances of the case. Carrying out an assessment / audit will help you plan and decide what is reasonable. It is good practice to be proactive rather than wait for people to tell you something is inaccessible.

Using this tool

This tool follows a typical journey from arrival through to going boating. It is meant for those involved with a particular club or centre to self-assess the accessibility of existing buildings and facilities, including access to the water. It is not a definitive guide and does not detail every bit of design guidance that exists.

Anyone considering a new build or major renovations of an existing building or facilities should seek advice from professional consultants on accessibility issues.

Each section includes:

  • Advice referencing any specific standards or codes of practice
  • Checklist questions
  • information that could be made publicly available to let others know how accessible your venue and facilities are

Whilst there is a wide range of guidance and standards for inclusive and accessible design (and this document sources some of those), listening to what disabled people think and the barriers they face is the easiest way to find out what you can do to improve access and ensure your facilities are usable. One way to do this is to carry out a self-assessment with disabled people, walking through the facilities and getting user comments and feedback.

At all times you should have in mind:

  1. Who is using or is likely to use the facilities?
  2. What do they think about the facilities?
  3. How do they find getting around and the reality of using the facilities?

Following this approach and using this tool will enable you to produce:

  • an action plan of steps you can take to improve access
  • an accessibility statement to be made publicly available

Next - describing the facilities and support available to enable people to access what is on offer, both on shore and on the water.

Next - Accessibility statement
Accessibility self assessment tool
Accessibility statement

An accessibility statement is a way of describing the facilities and support available to enable people to access what is on offer, both on shore and on the water.

Getting there

Do you provide enough information to enable people to plan their journeys to your venue?

Arriving and entering

Consider the proximity of parking and setting down points, how people can reach buildings and facilities on site, and the overall accessibility of external paths and walkways as people arrive

External spaces

Consider the external spaces, where people need to get to, and how they find their way to different facilities they will access at the venue

Internal areas

Consider whether people can easily use the interior of buildings, without asking too many questions. It asks you to look at how people get around, colour schemes, lighting, the acoustic environment and furniture

WC and changing areas

Consider whether people can easily use the wc and changing facilities. It considers mobility, equipment, lighting and colour schemes as well as procedures for responding to alarms.

Getting on the water

A focus on the routes to any pontoon, jetty or boat in use; the pontoons and or slipway; the boats available and safety or assistive equipment provided

Emergency and safety

Consider whether those sailing with you can get out of the building or boats in an emergency

Communication and information

Consider whether you communicate and provide information in such a way that makes it easy for people to know their way around and find out what is going on without asking too many questions

Further sources

This tool draws from a number of sources which contain further detail should you need it. It is worth noting that should you feel you need further detail you may also need to seek independent, professional advice.



We are grateful to Jennifer Teagle NRAC Access Auditor for her input into this self-assessment tool.

Download the tool as a pdf

Assessing Access Self Assessment tool
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