Sailability originated in Great Britain in the 1980’s with the aim to make sailing accessible to people with disabilities.  It began when the Royal Yachting Association formed the Seamanship Foundation. At the same time, a number of individual Sailability groups had formed, which became the basis of a national organisation for disabled sailors. As a result, RYA Sailability was created.  Today the organisation is the leading national authority for disabled sailing in the UK with over 15,000 sailors benefiting from its activities.

RYA Sailability is considered to be the most active sailing organisation for people with disabilities in the world, with over 200 clubs in the UK alone. An eager group of Sailability volunteers have successfully taken Sailability around the world.

Sailability operates under various names, with new national Sailability organisations being established on a regular basis.

Sailability in Dubai, UAE

In Dubai in 2005, a parent organised group ‘All for Downs’ began to arrange joyrides and sailing activities at the DOSC Sailing Club, for Down Syndrome children.

In 2008, members of DOSC and volunteers from Special Needs Awareness Program (SNAP), arranged for students from special needs schools to attend the club to gain the thrill of sailing experiences at the club.

 In the Spring of 2009, DOSC achieved RYA Sailability recognition and affiliation.  DOSC Sailability is one of a few very select overseas centres to hold this status


In the Summer of 2010, DOSC Sailability purchased 6 Access Dinghies, which allows students to learn the skill of sailing in a unique style of boat. The Access Dinghies are specially adapted boats that will not capsize, are safe and stable and easy to sail. Access Dinghies take a maximum of 2 people, which is usually one student, with one assistant instructor. Some students learn to sail these boats independently.

In 2011, a 22 foot Keel Boat named Rat Race was generously donated to the program. Rat Race enables students to learn the skills to sail a much larger boat and also encourages team work amongst the students and is a step towards team racing, with a maximum crew of 6.

At the start of the 2012 sailing season, DOSC Sailability purchased a Laser Keel where students learn to work together to sail in a more independent way and have greater control over their sailing experience with up to 4 people in the boat.