The modifications described here have proved beneficial to all who have used them. In particular, as we get older, climbing on and off boats, and mounting ladders gets increasingly difficult. In our case, I was 75 and Dairne was 74 in 2016. Also, she had quite a severe left side stroke in 2012. She walks with a stick, very slowly, and uses a wheelchair for any significant distance (roughly more than 50 metres).
Getting on board
Many motorboats rely on access via the swimming platform at the stern. Few have handholds that meet the needs of anyone with mobility impairment. Teal is far better in this respect having midship access, but it is a couple of feet above the pontoon. We had a purpose designed 3 step boarding ladder made which was as wide as possible, another feature required by those with impaired mobility. It turned out to be quite a challenge to my friends who made it, but the result is excellent. The ladder stows under the saloon seats when not in use.
The other essential was a hand grab mounted on the saloon side. We had to be careful as the securing screws go through into a cable duct!
Some motorboats have a better walkthrough than Teal, but all we have seen rely on boarding via the swimming platform. So we had to overcome the level difference between the side deck and the main saloon sole. As built there are is one step between these levels. We added an additional portable step on each side, secured with quick release clips or wingnuts so access to hatches and lockers below was not compromised. (See pictures on left)
The steps down into the cabin aft and the galley forward are steep, and the rise of each step is much more than the standard maximum step rise of 7 inches (see profile). Our solution was to add portable half steps secured by quick release clips to allow access to lockers below the steps. These work well, but we have yet to provide proper handholds on both sides as required by a stroke survivor. (See pictures on right)
Dairne uses a standard NHS wheelchair which folds up. It stows in a specially made zipped water resistant bag that lashes to the guardrails across the transom. Access is only slightly impaired,