I began planning the World’s first “Blind fishing Boat” in 2005. That summer I purchased a 17-foot I/O drive 1984 fiberglass boat from a manufacturer, (Oliver), which had long-since ceased to operate., Being aboard the Oliver made me wonder what technology existed that would allow me to, once again, operate a boat independently.
I have owned and been aboard all manner of boats, mostly small fishing boats, and until 10 years ago I still had some vision. My now complete lack of functional vision (slight light perception) means I need to utilize my other senses and sight-replacement technologies. While I never owned the Oliver for long, the boat was instrumental in rekindling my love for boating and launching me on this course of discovery.
My next boat, a 12-foot Porta-bote, provided to me by Craig Dill owner of Ontario Portable Boats, arrived at my home in mid March 2007. Having already undertaken significant research in the area of existing boating aids that could be of use to people with limited or no sight, I had already assembled many of the technologies that I hoped would get me started. The 2007 fishing / boating season is my first opportunity to test these aids out in real-world conditions.