A new boat that can accommodate wheelchair users and other people with disabilities or mobility problems has been introduced by Blackwater Boats for trips and longer charters on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation, near Chelmsford.
Called 'Blackwater Dawn', the traditional style wide-beam river boat, with open views from the covered forward deck, will be fully operational from May 2013. Wider than the previous 'Blackwater Rose' Narrowboat it now replaces, it includes galley facilities, a large toilet compartment and a platform lift - enabling safe and easy access for older people, and those with a disability.
Owner Ron Abbott, who runs Blackwater Boats with wife Judith, said: "We have wanted to cater for a wider range of passengers for a while and our new vessel allows us to do that. Many more people can now experience a river cruise, with all its scenery, wildlife and other sights and sounds."
Blackwater Boats have been offering trips and charters on the Chelmer and Blackwater for rivers the past ten years from Sandford Lock, near Chelmer Village, Chelmsford, Essex. Prior to that, the proprietors spent another ten years operating holiday hire boats from the same location.
Charters offered range from two to six-hours which allows for either a short trip or a longer cruise through locks before returning to Sandford Lock. Prices range from £5.50 per adult for a one-hour trip to £190 for a six-hour cruise for up to 12 people.
Mr Abbott added: "Previous charters have included birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions. Guests can bring aboard their own refreshments to enjoy during the river cruise, perhaps stopping for a riverside picnic, or be taken to a convenient landing place to visit a local pub or restaurant."
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