The EU Regulation 1177/2010, which comes into force this December (on the 18th), will give disabled passengers wishing to travel by sea or waterway within the EU (or starting or finishing there), the same rights as they already have when flying or going by train.

While there are exceptions for small ships and very short journeys, tour operators, travel agents or operators will only be able to refuse a disabled person a ticket for safety reasons or where accommodating them isn't operationally feasible. This change also means that where a non-disabled person is required to accompany them, that person has to be carried free of charge.

Alick Miskin, head of diversity services at Grass Roots, said: "The new EU Regulation requires key staff to be trained in disability awareness; this includes those involved in the ticketing process as well as those providing direct assistance."

Grass Roots has been providing disability awareness training to organisations for more than 12 years. For details visit www.grassroots.uk.com/learning

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