I wanted to thank you for all your efforts with the blind fishing boat. I am 44 years old and my best friend and lifelong fishing partner lost his sight in a horrible accident. It was emotionally difficult for me on many fronts, but most hurtful as I stated “We will never be able to fish again”. However, in reading your article and seeing all that you have accomplished, my spirits were uplifted like you cannot believe.
I know now, that even with his disability, we will someday hit the water and once again be able to engage in our shared passion of fishing. I believe this will be incredibly helpful as he learns a new way of life…one in which can be very similar to those with sight.
I look forward to keeping up with all you do via your website and blogs. You are an inspiration to others!
With Blessed Regards,
Your friend is truly fortunate to have someone like yourself as a buddy. While it may take some time for your newly blinded friend to regain his independence, (transition to living without sight can take 12-18 months on average), that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t stop dreaming about fishing. Besides, once you get him on to a boat he’ll know his way around just fine.
Three technologies your friend would appreciate are as follows. I use each of these myself. I’m not saying they are enough for someone without sight to attend school or hold down a job, but they will provide very nicely in the pursuit of basic life activities.
1. Trekker Breeze GPS:
HumanWare is the maker of this all-in-one talking GPS system for the blind that will both allow your friend to explore on foot, bus and vehicle any community he may find himself in, but to record favourite fishing holes and boat launches. The unit is pretty weather tough as well. Always nice to know where you are, where you’re going, and what’s around.
Believe it or not, I-Phones and any other smart phone running Android can be made to talk and provide access to the different applications. Sending texts, emails, and accessing calendars and contact lists is also made possible, as is access to up-to-date weather reports – good information to have when planning a fishing trip.
3. Victor Stream:
The Victor Stream, again by HumanWare, is a great little pocket sized device that can give access to all sorts of information. You can connect wirelessly to any internet feed, or connect directly to a computer. I use mine for accessing the latest feeds from on average 20 different fishing podcasts; downloading and listening to recorded books; streaming on-line radio; recording favourite shows and my own podcasts; accessing e-books, and storing and listening to music. I know there are apps out there that would let me do much of this on my I-Phone, but the Stream just happens to do some things just so much easier.
A nice to have boating item is the “Talking Tackle Depth Whisperer”. This can be attached to a boat’s depth sounder via the NMEA0183 output and then speaks the depth below keel with a beautiful female voice — I can’t fish without it now that I have it installed.
Talking computers, braille, learning to use a white stick and eventually getting a guide dog are all important. No doubt, learning to shave, dress, cook and clean are also huge re-learnings for someone who loses their sight. It can all be pretty over-whelming – like being born a fully conscious, intelligent but helpless baby. It can be frustrating, but in time days will soon go by for your friend when the notion of being blind won’t even cross his mind.
Good luck and feel free to contact me any time, or if you want to set up a call with your friend, that would be cool too.