THE 16-year Sailability program at Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron has long benefitted from backing by private individuals, the community organisations and state and federal governments.
The most recent grants totalling $12,000 came from the Department of Social Services, Sorrento Rotary Club, Southern Peninsula Community Support Fund and Camerons Bight Boat Club.
The money from Rotary has been used for maintenance and extra fenders for the waiting area on the landing in the marina. The club has added safety railings near where Sailability participants will assemble and board the 303 yachts.
The federal money has been used to replace an aluminium hull.
These grants and donations will also pay for first aid and powerboat handling courses for volunteers involved in the Sailability program.
Camerons Bight Boat Club gave $2000 and a member gave $1500 for a new support boat needed to be stored on a floating pontoon.
The $1500 from the Southern Peninsula Support Fund will be used to replace worn sails on two yachts which have done about 20 seasons of service between them. The Kindilan Foundation is paying for new volunteer uniform shirts and slickers.
Sailability Blairgowrie uses specially designed yachts which will not tip over and is open to people of all ages and ability.
There is no charge for the Tuesday dependent participants, many of who have been participating since 2002 when the late Geoff Watson and his wife Eily and a group of volunteers began the program.
The program also enables people of all ages and abilities to sail at advertised times at weekends and during holidays.
Experienced Blairgowrie sailors can sail with visitors or people who are more experienced can sail solo or in pairs. The sailing is always supervised by an observer powerboat.
For details call the Sailability coordinator Brian Jones on 0466 273 874.