Small Cruisers for Handicapped Access and Care

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Rurudyne, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Here's something that may seem random but really it isn't: restroom facilities on ordinary sized or small cruisers / houseboats that may even permit both a care give-e and a giver to occupy the same space.

    The background for my interest is that my sister has cerebral palsy and does not take care of her own messes. Also I've a ailing grandmother that I help take care of too. While the odds of me building a boat to cruise in anytime soon are small I figure that I cannot be the only guy out there with relatives like these.

    Of course the simplest solution is to make the bathroom larger and fill it with ready made land-use sourced handicapped fixtures as this fellow did with a fairly substantial yacht: http://www.wheelchairtraveling.com/rent-a-wheelchair-accessible-yacht/

    But if you look at the slide show you'll see some things that just do not inspire confidence on a boat that will roll, such as a wide sink with prominent corners or a large mirror that someone might accidentally grab to brace themselves.

    Looking at those images, and recalling restrooms on land I've seen, it seems that the need for handholds seems to produce a lot of extra corners and things that can get pulled down. The adjustable beds with no railing system seem iffy too.

    I would like to hear your thoughts on accessible facilities in small cruisers, boats mere middle classed folks can afford: not necessarily for my own situation but more generally. As used boat prices are all over the place why not look to the 30-45' range? Give or take depending on what interest you.

    How, for example, to make fixtures so they don't produce an unusual threat if the weather gets bad (it will eventually even in the ICW)? Or is the urge to make things roomy for wheelchair access the only option? Things like that.
     
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  2. Richard Woods
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: Back full time in the UK

    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    The implication is that it is above your budget, but check out the 60ft Impossible Dream catamaran for ideas and inspiration

    http://impossibledream.us/

    or, from the 1960's, the Sparkle catamaran

    I had a friend with a racing trimaran called Paradox - he, like another friend who's trimaran was called Legless, was similarly disadvantaged

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs

    www.sailingcatamarans.com
     
  3. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Nice boat.

    As I said: my problem isn't so much a want of legs but a want for potty training on the part of my sister. That means I've a different set of things to consider than most (and what I'm asking about in this thread since I'm just wanting to see what ideas are floating around out there, pardon the pun) such as would it look good to put down rubberized canvas on my cabin sole, not just the deck, and used well cushioned all-weather/washable carpets secured and yet removable because the twerp sometimes makes me think she enjoys whizzing on the carpets just to get a reaction from me. Likewise I don't necessarily need the same sort of bathroom fixtures as H.A. but whatever bathroom I'll have needs to have room for someone and her for when it isn't just tinkle.

    On the smaller scale for H.A. I've noted, for example, that Bolger's Tennessee is said to be wheelchair friendly with little effort; however, can one take such a boat (not necessary specifically a Tennessee) from a day cruiser to a cruiser in the space available? A composting toilet isn't that big, but how to shape the handrails for such a small space and the realities of even a boat for "sheltered waters"?

    What about bunk design? In a relatively big boat these aren't so much a problem so not much need for creativity when finding solutions (though a big mirror that looks like it could be accidentally torn from the wall makes me cringe).

    Of course, I don't have a clue if there is or isn't a decent number of handicapped handymen out there looking to score some nice plans to build a boat or else who have ideas of their own about the problems such may face.
     
  4. Skyak
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Skyak Senior Member

    A dear member of my 'family' (not a genetic relation) had polio and has similar challenges in the bathroom. He takes pride in his gymnastic solution but it scares the daylights out of everyone and he is losing the battle. My solution would be a 'hammock chair' supported from above. Portions of the chair would be selectively removable and the whole thing machine washable.

    We could talk more if this is of interest.
     
  5. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Sounds interesting. Are you thinking the devise may also act to counter rolling in a small boat as a pendulum would?
     
  6. Skyak
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Skyak Senior Member

    That is one positive aspect but there are many. The standard practice of supporting weight with the floor and using handholds does not work because the floor is not wide enough, not level, not a consistent height, and all the handholds become bruisers or bone breakers, and any chair becomes shrapnel as the boat pitches.

    By contrast the roof of all cabin cruisers can support the weight of a human -it has to because sailors wolk over the deck. Ceilings are relatively uncluttered and the hanging seat is at it's lowest energy state. The pitching of the boat can easily be completely negated, or it can be harvested to provide the controlled movement through the cabin (you should always have 2 or 3 lines to the boat but only one must be fixed). The entire setup would be the chair, a bunch of hanger points on the ceiling, and a stick to reach a line to those points.
     

  7. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Punny crews could be a downside when weather is rough and the crap's swinging all over the place.

    Edit: if you haven't noticed yet I've a huge silly streak I struggle against. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
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