March 15, 2024

Setting Sail with UMPT

Sailing is a beautiful sport that transcends barriers, welcoming individuals of all abilities to experience the joy of being out on the water. The UMPT (University Of Miami Physical Therapy) program exemplifies this inclusivity by providing a platform for students to learn from skilled sailors with disabilities, ranging from visual impairments to mobility challenges.

Over the span of a 7 weeks, UMPT students converge at Shake-A-Leg Miami (SALM) center to immerse themselves in the world of sailing and effective communication. Throughout the course, they discover the intricacies of accommodating diverse needs, mastering the art of boarding, and disembarking from a boat, mastering proper body mechanics, and understanding the nuances of planning a voyage to Boca Chita.

The much-anticipated 2023 Boca Chita trip commenced on a picturesque Friday, as the students set sail on their Freedom 20s, gliding through the waters 12 miles south until they reached their camping destination. Upon arrival, a spirit of teamwork enveloped the group as they swiftly set up the campsite, preparing for a night of camaraderie. The evening unfolded with a delightful BBQ under the setting sun, followed by shared stories, laughter, and the sweet indulgence of s'mores around a crackling campfire.

As the night sky unfurled its blanket of stars, the group gathered to honor each other with awards, creating lasting memories in the glow of the firelight. The following morning dawned with a sense of adventure as the sailors bid farewell to Boca Chita, navigating their way back to SALM over a four-hour journey, accompanied by playful dolphins dancing in the wake.

This experience not only honed their sailing skills but also forged bonds of friendship and understanding, illustrating that the true essence of sailing lies not just in the journey but in the shared moments of joy, resilience, and unity on the open sea.