Last Friday Rutland Water became the first venue in the country to take delivery of a new boat specifically designed to improve the enjoyment for disabled anglers, enabling them to fish inconspicuously alongside able-bodied anglers.

The Coulam 16 Wheelyboat is based on the existing reservoir fishing boat, rather than having a drop down bow and wide body as seen on the current wheelyboat model, which is available at Rutland Water.

Members of the Wheelyboat Trust attended the launching ceremony along with boat builder Jim Coulam.  Danny Peet, England team member and a regular  Rutland angler, cut the ribbon to celebrate the boat’s launch.

The attached photo shows (from left to right) Ray Price (Wheelyboat Trust), Jim Coulam of Coulam Boat Builders, Danny Peet cutting the ribbon, John Seaton (Anglian Water Senior Warden at Rutland Water), Jake Williams (Anglian Water Recreation & Access Manager), John Marshall (Anglian Water Fisheries Manager), and Andy Beadsley of the Wheelyboat Trust.

Anglers can now enjoy the many benefits to the new boat which will give all visitors to Rutland Water equal fishing opportunities;

* The design provides wheelchair users with step-free access on board via an external ramp from the pontoon and a hydraulic platform located in the boat.
* The deck is open and level throughout.
* The disabled angler can sit at the bow or the stern if desired.
* The boat is being fitted with a 10 horsepower outboard with push botton start to make it easy for disabled anglers to use.
* The boat has a low centre of gravity and is very stable.  Wheelchair brakes should be sufficient to hold the angler in place in normal conditions but D rings on the deck provide secure strapping points if required.
* The modifications are incorporated into the hull as the boat is being built and are very discreet.  The boat looks and performs in exactly the same manner as all the other boats in the fleet.