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The Yorkshire Belle has to comply with many areas of legislation, most of which are issued by the MCA (Maritime Coastguard Agency) and the Bridlington Harbour Commissioners.
As a direct result of health and safety requirements placed on the Yorkshire Belle by external agencies, all passengers with any queries about mobility, hearing or visual impairments or any special requirements are asked to contact the Skipper and discuss access and their needs BEFORE SAILING.
Any passengers with visual impairments who intend to travel alone must contact the Skipper in advance of the intended sailing date. This is to discuss particular requirements and potential issues before they arise.
VI passengers must make themselves known to the crew before boarding, in order to discuss boarding arrangements, but most importantly the crew must be aware of where passengers with disablitiies are seated in order to ensure that in the case of emergencies they can be identified immediately.
During the cruise a commentary is given and help will available where possible, to ensure VI passengers travelling alone, can gain the best experience possible. If a passenger with VI needs guiding to facilities, help will be given.
Any passengers with hearing impairments who intend to travel alone must contact the Skipper in advance of the intended sailing date, to discuss particular requirements and potential issues before they arise. Passengers with hearing impariments must make themselves known to the crew before boarding in order to discuss boarding arrangements.
It is essential that the crew must be aware of where passengers with hearing impairments are seated in order to ensure that in the case of emergencies they can be identified immediately. This is vitally important for those passengers who are deaf, as emergency instructions given over the tannoy or on deck must be followed. Therefore those non-hearing passengers must be able to be identified and instructed on a one to one basis if the need arises.
During most cruises a commentary is given and if a hearing impaired passenger discusses their requirements with the Skipper prior to sailing, it may well be possible, to send information in advance of the cruise.
In order to board the vessel, there are gang planks and stairs to contend with. Depending on tides the gang planks vary in gradient. Passengers (including children) do need to be able to walk independently, although some will be able to manage with the aid of the hand rails and the crew are always on hand to provide assistance and are very used aiding passengers with mobility issues. Adults with young children may well need to carry very young children and assistance will be available if required.
Any passengers with mobility issues should contact the Skipper in advance of the intended sailing date, to discuss particular requirements and potential issues before they arise, it is often better to chat through an individual's capabilities and discuss the Skipper's recommendations.
Passengers with mobility issues should make themselves known to the crew before boarding in order to discuss boarding arrangements, as it is quite often helpful to board these passengers first. Also once seated it will be important for the crew to know where passengers with disabilities are seated - as this will be important in the event of any emergency situation.
Neither wheelchairs and pushchairs can be used on deck whilst sailing, once a passenger has boarded, such chairs will be removed and stored safely by the crew and will be made available at the end of the gang plank, when the boat docks once again in the harbour.
Clearly adult passengers with no mobility whatsoever, will sadly not be able to board the Yorkshire Belle.
On these rare occasions it is hoped that passengers will instead choose to visit places such as RSPB Bempton Cliffs or the YWT Living Seas Centre at Flamborough- both of which have excellent Visitor Centres where they will enjoy a great experience and have their needs met in ways that perhaps a sea excursion cannot.