Located at Lysterfield Lake Park, the Sailability program is coordinated by Brian Girling of the Lysterfield Sailing Club.
Supported by volunteers, Sailability’s aim is to introduce people of all ages and abilities to the joys of sailing.
Brian (Sailability Coordinator):
My name is Brian Girling and I am a member of the Lysterfield Sailing Club and also the coordinator of the Sailability Program, that is run under the auspices of the Lysterfield Sailing Club.
It was originally started back two and half, three and half years ago, when the City of Casey and Sailability Victoria came to us and said we’re going to start a branch, a program of Sailability at the Lysterfield Lake park, do you want to be part of it? They donated a boat for us, so we put the City of Casey logo on the sail. So that’s how it all started.
We didn’t realise how good it was, until we had a number of the organisations come down and teach the volunteer groups how to be conscious of people with a disability. Sailability is the most accessible sport in the world. Anybody can sail. When you see the people that we’ve put through our program and the way they enjoy it.
Some of these people cannot communicate, some are severely physically disabled, but we get them into the boat and they just enjoy it. You can see the look on their face. They enjoy it. And the volunteers that come here, they all get that enjoyment as well.
On a day like today we have six boats, five of those boats are dual seaters, we have a single seater boat, so we need five sailors out on the water all the time, five volunteers out on the water. We need one or two in the rescue boat and then we usually have someone to receive the groups as they come in. Someone to fit them out with jackets and get them all lined up and ready with their shoes and socks off and their pants rolled up and all ready to go.
The volunteers are very important because of the… the amount of man hours that has got to go into this and each of the clients have got to be taken out with a volunteer and that’s very important. Because it just wouldn’t function.
Anybody that has an interest in sailing or wants to have an interest in sailing, has an interest in people with a disability or would like to help out as a volunteer, to come along and join us. We will teach you to sail. We will organise you to get a recreational motorboat license if necessary and you’ll enter into a social group of people all with the same idea.
Our volunteer group is a very social group. Not only do they volunteer on the Wednesdays, every Wednesday and every second Sunday, that we have open at the moment, but they have social outings together. They’ve all become, all people from different walks of life have now all become a social group. And they have a ball.