In a groundbreaking move towards inclusivity and empowerment, the Southern Maryland Center for Independent Living (SMCIL) – a community-focused, non-profit human service agency advocating for individuals with disabilities – will host an accessible and interactive sailing event on the Chesapeake Bay. This initiative seeks to provide opportunities for disabled individuals in Southern Maryland to experience sailing in a safe, accommodating environment.

The event, planned for Tuesday, July 18th, resonates with the SMCIL’s mission of empowering people with disabilities to lead self-directed, independent, and fulfilling lives. It is a reflection of their partnership with Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB), the leading provider of unrestricted bay access in the region. CRAB’s vision aligns with SMCIL’s, advocating for the full inclusion of disabled individuals in recreational activities, rooted in a belief that everyone should have the opportunity to access and enjoy the largest natural estuary in the nation.

This collaboration underpins the shared belief that personal growth and community experiences are vital components of improving life quality for everyone within the community, particularly those living with disabilities.

This event will cater to disabled residents of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties, along with their caregivers, if necessary. However, due to space limitations, a waitlist will be maintained for last-minute cancellations or possible future sailing dates. Participants are expected to assemble at SMCIL’s office in Mechanicsville, MD, by 7:45 a.m., from where they will be transported to CRAB’s Accessible Boating Center in Annapolis via SMCIL’s wheelchair-accessible bus.

Once at the boating center, participants and SMCIL staff will set sail for a two-hour interactive experience aboard six of CRAB’s adapted Beneteau First 22A sailboats, specifically designed for accessibility. These boats are equipped with a transfer slide or Hoyer Lift for participants with mobility impairments, who will be safely secured in race car bucket seats with 4-point harness seatbelts.

Following the morning sail, participants will return via SMCIL’s bus for lunch at a local park before returning to the SMCIL’s office.

SMCIL’s IL/AT Specialist, Stacy Tobin, is the contact person for those wishing to learn more about this event. She can be reached at 301-884-4498 ext. 2 or Additional information about the Southern Maryland Center for Independent Living, including ways to support its mission, can be found on its website at

This event embodies the ongoing commitment of SMCIL and CRAB to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities through accessible and inclusive experiences. By connecting these community members to the natural beauty of the Chesapeake Bay, they aim to foster shared experiences and personal growth, integral to promoting a higher quality of life within the Southern Maryland community.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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