Called the Shore Tender Accessibility Project, the system was developed for Holland America by Cap Sante Marine, Inc. of Anacortes, Wash. First installed on the ms Statendam in May 2000, the custom-built $100,000-plus prototype system has been in operation during Statendam`s Alaska season. The ms Ryndam and ms Volendam are scheduled to be fitted with the system next, with the rest of the Holland America fleet to follow during scheduled drydocks.
The prorotype was developed to address a common challenge when guests using wheelchairs desire to go ashore or participate in shore excursions requiring tendering. Cap Sante Marine`s unique system provides a safe, dignified means of transporting a guest using a wheelchair down the gangway and onto the tender while still in the chair. The guest`s wheelchair is locked into place on a lift that runs on an inclined track from the top gangway to the tender. A ramp on the tender allows the chair to be wheeled directly aboard and locked into place atop a specially designed scissor-lift. That lift is then raised to provide the guest a clear view through the tender`s windows.
Once dockside, the tender has a hydraulic leveling system that can be adjusted to allow for differences in height up to 23 inches between the dock and the tender and onto the dock.
This innovative new system will make it possible for guests who previously were unable to go ashore to enjoy our ports of call and participate fully in our shoreside activities, said Kirk Lanterman, Holland America Line chairman. This new tendere-transfer system is just another example of Holland America`s commitment to having the most accessible ships in the industry.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.