Saturday, May 9, 2015

EZ Dock Accessible Kayak and Canoe Station

It was a very cool day on May 1 when three of us from DCR's Universal Access Program investigated an accessible dock in Norwell, Massachusetts. We had to wear coats to test the accessible kayak and canoe station that is part of the EZ Dock system.

A transfer bench allows people to transition while sitting
to a lower bench where access into the boat is easier.
I've been curious about this dock system for over a year and happy to finally get to see one. The Town of Norwell's Conservation Commission gets a lot of kudos for proactively installing a system designed to allow everyone access to paddling on a beautiful pond. Two members of the Commission, Bob and Ron, gave us a tour and reported that all kinds of users appreciate the dock's easier access boating features.

EZ Docks are modular plastic systems that allow for quick installation, little maintenance, and the potential to add or subtract components later. Norwell's design allows for a kayak or canoe to be pulled along the gangway by rope onto the chute to the transfer area of the kayak and canoe station.  The dock's approximately 16 modular sections provide a broad space for multiple or group use. Other aspects include wheel stops at the dock edge (security curbing), tie down cleats and benches.  The whole system floats with spiral anchors that did not require special permitting to put in place. Attached at shore to a wooden wheelchair accessible rampway from two accessible parking spaces, Norwell's EZ Launch dock system is an inspiring example of greater access to the water.