A BOAT which last year took more than 2,000 disabled people on free trips is being prepared for the summer season – but funds are being sought to keep it operating.

The Friends of Dolphin vessel, Dolphin III, takes people around Poole Harbour or up to Wareham between May and September. Volunteers are preparing it for this year, which included lifting it out of the water at Salterns Marina for a scrub and anti-fouling.

The charity is facing challenges in fundraising as it has lost some of its traditional collection sites and is appealing for donations to help meet the £15,000 a year running costs.

“Although the Dolphin is run entirely by volunteers, there are costs in running the boat, mainly fuel, and this year we also have to make some essential upgrades,” said chairman Brian Miles.

“We will be installing a new heater so we can give everybody a hot drink and we also need some new lifejackets for passengers.”

Anybody who can help the charity can contact membership secretary Bob Irwin or fundraising chairman Brenda Stone by emailing through the website thefriendsofdolphin.co.uk