Building my own blind fishing boat

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Hello Lawrence,

Due to an influx of money, I am serious about purchasing a porta-boat this year.  However, I must ask, where did you get your adaptive devices?  I know that you got your talking GPS from HumanWare.  Is it the Trekker breeze, or a different Model?  I ask that, because, they only have two different settings on the Trekker Breeze, with one setting for driving and another set for walking.  With that said, did you have a special model, made for boating?  Were a lot of those things made just for you?  As far as talking compasses go, I saw one online, back in 2012, my second year of sailing.  Unfortunately, the company did not make one for use out on the water.  Does the talking depth sounder plug into a battery?  Where could I find the other things, other than the GPS?  While you and I would use the exact same equipment for navigating, the only differences between you and I, is because I would be going out on larger bodies of water, I would use a quiet 4-stroke gasoline trolling motor.  But that as far as adaptive technology goes; we both would use the very same things.  What about that thing that you clip onto the dock to find your dock, where you park the boat?  I plan to look at the porta-boat at the Sacramento boat show, out here in California for the first time!!!!  Hope that all is well.

Rick.

Hi Rick,

I really don’t think that anyone who is blind should drive a boat with a gas motor. Instead, I would spend your money on a Torqeedo 1003 electric motor and purchase an optional battery. This is a 3-4 hp electric engine, and it gives an audio beep when the battery is beginning to run down. You can also have the motor communicate with an iPhone.

The GPS I use is the HumanWare breeze. I run it in the mode called “as the crow flies”. That allows you to navigate from one waypoint to another in a direct line with spoken direction.

The talking depth device is the “Talking Tackle Depth Whisperer”, made in the U.S. and comes with a transducer. You can get more information from:

Ralph McGonegal
Talkin’Tackle LLC
205 S Sandstone Rd
Jackson MI 49201
(517) 474 6241
ralph@mcgonegal.net

The sonar I run on the front is called a “Mini Guide” made in Australia by http://www.gdp-research.com.au/. However, you could use any reverse sensor available on the market as an after sales item people have installed on their vehicles. The Miniguide has a 30 foot range, the automobile reverse sensors have only a six foot range, which is good around docs as you get three different audio warnings, but not so good away from the doc when underway as six feet isn’t much.

The doc locator device I use is made in Germany by http://www.vistac.de/ and is called a Piepsy. Not sure who would sell these in the U.S. but you could always contact the manufacturer directly.

I have several talking compasses, including the one that comes with the iPhone. Another pocket sized talking compass is the Columbas II, which speaks the cardinal points on the compass, (north-east, etc), but not the degrees like the iPhone. Handy enough never-the-less. There are more talking compasses coming on to the market built for blind sailors, but nothing commercially available yet. Keep an ear out for the MaxPAC.

Lawrence crossing the bay in his porta-boat

Porta-boats are great. I have a 12 footer, but only because I take out my two kids. If it’s just you or maybe one other, you could go with a 10, which also has three bench seats like mine, or an 8, which has just the two bench seats. Smaller you go the lighter and faster. All are stable as they are the same width. The 14 has four benches, and also weighs more.

Rick, anything you decide to do you do without warranty or guarantee from me. I’m simply sharing what works for me. It may not work for you.

Good luck, Lawrence

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