Decision making

Talking to the person and finding out about them enables you to come up with a plan and make decisions about whether to go boating or not

The person

A good plan will enable the participant to: 

  • Get familiar with the boat and all the controls
  • Get in and out of boats
  • Be recovered from the water
  • Be able to move around once in a boat
  • Use any equipment that may be needed to be safe in the water, control the steering or sails, or to maintain posture or group on any part of the boat?

Of course, this is just part of the plan. There are other factors to consider before making decisions about safety and participation.

The situation

  • Where you are, the sailing area and the conditions on the day
  • The type of activity and the boats / equipment being used
  • The organisation’s scope of responsibility, liability and any constraints (e.g. insurance)

Staff and volunteers

A number of staff and volunteers are involved in helping deliver the activity so there is a need to consider:

  • Their competence and experience
  • The questions they have, the information they need and the training they need
  • Balance discussing individual needs in a private environment and sharing information on a ‘need to know basis’


The conversation and the assessment made as a result leads to a decision about whether to go boating or not that both participants and the organisation are comfortable with, and is based on:

  • Can we meet the needs of the participants?
  • Will the participants enjoy the session and get what they want from it?
  • What equipment and resources are needed to deliver safe activity?
  • Are the staff and volunteers comfortable with the plan?
  • Can we keep everyone safe?

Language can act as a barrier when it is negative and misrepresents disabled people and their lives. Positive language can attract and encourage people.

Next: getting the language right