SOP 10 Pontoon safety


  • All persons on the pontoon must wear a personal flotation device (PFD) i.e. buoyancy aid or life jacket at all times.
  • During loading / unloading the boat, where applicable, the helm must be on board.
  • Mooring lines should be fed back onto the boat.
  • The boat should be moored head-to-wind, in such a way that the boom clears the pontoon, with the helms encouraged to come in upwind.


  • Only one wheelchair client at a time on the pontoon; all wheelchairs must then be removed off the pontoon for the duration of the sailing session. (Electric controls to powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters to be disabled when used on the pontoon).
  • People waiting to board must wait on the shore (not on the pontoon) until it is their turn.
  • Generally all sailors to be escorted on to the pontoon by a PS helper. Those with visual impairment should always be escorted, as there will always be ropes, mooring cleats, or other trip hazards, that people with visual impairment will not see.


  • Ambulant clients should get off first.
  • Wheelchair users get off one at a time (wheelchairs have been left on shore until needed).

Transfers into a boat

People who are unable to make a transfer without assistance might need to use a hoist.  It is imperative that assisted transfers do not involve one person lifting another – to lift someone can be very dangerous to both the lifter and the lifted.  If assisting with a transfer in any way, it is vital that person who is being moved or their carer directs the whole operation.  Only they know their own limitations and the correct ways to avoid pain or damage to those parts of their body which have no movement or feeling.  It is crucial that information given by the person being assisted is listened to.  Before any hoist is used, it is essential that those who are assisting in the transfer have received training in moving and handling techniques.  When a hoist is used, only specifically-manufactured slings may be used; failure to use the correct equipment could result in serious injury to the person who is being moved and to those assisting with the transfer.

  • Generally, it is Peterborough Sailability’s policy that it is the carer’s responsibility to carry out or direct the manoeuvring people with disabilities. They will have been trained in the correct techniques to carry out the transfer and will know their sailors needs, with PS helpers assisting as requested.

Pontoon Maintenance

  • Prior to use, the pontoon is to be swept clear of bird / duck faeces, to prevent any slips and falls
  • Check sufficient depth of water under pontoon suitable for launching boats with deep keel fully down

This copyright information compiled by Peterborough Sailability ©

SOP 10 Pontoon Safety Version 05 dated 21 May 2024