Breaking Barriers at Sea: Geoff Holt MBE’s Wetwheels sets sail to make the open ocean accessible for all, earning a finalist spot at the esteemed Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2023.
Geoff Holt knows firsthand the challenges of living with a disability. As a quadriplegic, the British entrepreneur and adventurer has spent decades pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. In 2011, he embarked on his most ambitious quest yet: making the open ocean accessible to everyone.
Holt founded Wetwheels, a network of community interest companies providing barrier-free boating across the UK. Wetwheels’ custom catamarans are designed for people of all abilities, with features like hoists, ramps and joystick controls that enable disabled participants to drive the boats themselves.
“I was inspired to start Wetwheels due to the lack of opportunities I recognised for fellow disabled people to access the open ocean,” says Holt. Unable to secure outside funding at first, he mortgaged his house and partnered with maritime companies to get Wetwheels off the ground.
The concept took off quickly. There are now seven Wetwheels boats offering excursions to over 10,000 disabled people annually, along with their friends, families and carers. For Holt, this rapid growth and ability to positively impact so many lives has been Wetwheels’ biggest achievement.
Looking ahead, Holt has set an ambitious goal of raising £1 million to add four more boats to Wetwheels’ fleet. “Having a fleet of 12 boats around the UK, each with the ability to visit nearby coastal harbours and support large numbers of disabled people within an hour’s drive of the coast, will be the realisation of a dream,” he says.
Through determination and vision, Geoff Holt has built Wetwheels into a force for good. Recognised as finalists at the 2023 Great British Entrepreneur Awards, Holt and his team are well on their way to achieving Holt’s goal of opening Britain’s waters to everyone. To learn more about this inspiring organisation and its mission, visit www.wetwheelsmaritimeadventures.co.uk.