The Port of Milford Haven and Blue Horizons Surf School are proud to announce a new partnership that enables more inclusive access to the Milford Haven Waterway.  The monthly boat trips onboard a vessel that can facilitate safe embarkation for wheelchair users are enabling more people to safely enjoy the waterway and the associated wellbeing benefits that brings.

As custodians of the Milford Haven Waterway, the Port of Milford Haven actively promotes, encourages and enables sustainable recreational use of the Haven.  There is increasing recognition of the importance of spending time in and around the water and nature, also known as ‘blue spaces’, and studies have proven it to have a positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing.

Blue Horizons Surf School is a Community Interest Company offering surf lessons, beach days and coastal exploration for children and adults in Pembrokeshire. This collaboration merges the dedication Blue Horizon has to inclusivity and the Port’s commitment to providing a safe and enjoyable waterway, as well as equality and diversity.

The Port of Milford Haven’s community outreach programme focuses on providing opportunities for young people, enjoyment of the waterway and promoting skills and jobs. The boat trips, which are on board a vessel provided by Dale Sailing in Neyland, will take small groups to explore the different areas of the Milford Haven Waterway. Each trip is adapted to the needs of those attending to ensure it’s a safe space to socialise and explore.  

Oliver Bird from Blue Horizons Surf School, said “The inspiration for these boat trips in Pembrokeshire was born from listening to individuals and families with shared experiences in order to understand what was needed to make a boat trip truly accessible. The trips give everyone the opportunity to safely and comfortably experience the open seas, seeing a different aspect of our beautiful coastline and learning about our fascinating waterway. The feedback has shown it has positively impacted so many in varied ways; the calming effects of watching the water swirl by, the salt air helping bring a better night's sleep, the support of a team onboard and the company of like-minded people allowing them the chance to relax and enjoy an adventurous activity together. Every trip has a unique story to tell and we feel very privileged to be a part of it.”

Supporting the trips, Coxswain at the Port of Milford Haven, Graham Howells added: “After a conversation with a friend whose son has cerebral palsy and autism, it became apparent that accessible adventure activities in Pembrokeshire were severely limited. Blue Horizons had been running accessible surfing sessions last summer, but their season had to come to a halt as the water temperature dropped in the autumn. The idea that we might be able to get people and their carers out on a warm dry boat was met with great enthusiasm by all partners concerned. It is my great pleasure to be involved on behalf of the Port of Milford Haven. We are extremely grateful for the Port's financial support and to Dale Sailing for the use of an accessible boat. I hope this is just the beginning of an exciting opportunity to provide accessible activities and respite for service users, their families and carers.”

Communications and Marketing Director at the Port, Anna Malloy, commented “We’re really excited to be partnering with Blue Horizons. At the Port we’re committed to ensuring safe enjoyment of the Milford Haven Waterway for all, and who knows, maybe the experience of being out on the waters will inspire some of the passengers to consider a career in maritime.  What a fantastic outcome that would be!”

For more information about the boat trips, contact Blue Horizons CIC Surf Club on Facebook.