Each June my local pontoon boat owners club organizes a day on the water for local members of Fishing Has No Boundaries. Club members donate their time and volunteer use of their boats to take folks fishing, and it’s often hard to tell who has the most fun: the anglers or their volunteer captains. People who may have never been aboard a boat – let alone held a fishing rod – cruise the lake, catch fish and have a ball, while fellow club members get elbow-to-elbow with folks who truly push the envelope of their own physical and emotional limitations. It’s an inspiring day for all involved.
Pontoon boats are perfect craft for hosting people who may have limited mobility, offering stable platforms featuring level decks that are often surrounded by fencing accessed through wide gates. You can purchase ramps to allow wheelchair access from docks and shore, and some pontoons have been adapted for wheelchair use with entry gates wide enough to accommodate them. One pontoon boat manufacturer, Metalite Industries of Spokane, WA, (metaliteind.com) offers an Enabler model pontoon boat designed and customized specifically for boaters who need wheelchair access or have other special needs that require special adaptations to the boats.
Fishing Has No Boundaries is based in Hayward Wisconsin, which is also the home-town of the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. To learn more about the FHNB program and a chapter near you, contact the organization by telephone at 800/243-3462, by mail at POB 175, Hayward, WI 54843, or on the web at www.fhnbinc.org.