B.C. man makes boating accessible to the wheelchair-bound

The ability to head out on a lake and go fishing is a simple pleasure for many, but for those whose mobility relies on the use of a wheelchair, they often can’t go further than the edge of the dock.

A man in Nanaimo, B.C. has made it his mission to change that, and wants to make sure everyone can go fishing if they so choose.

Jon Pimlott is the mind behind ‘Fishing for All,’ a group that seeks to develop ways for people in wheelchairs to go boating. Pimlott has developed two different assistive devices, the Chairower and the Canoe Catamaran, which allows someone in a wheelchair to ride alongside two canoes, or to row his or her own boat.

“It’s been amazing putting a fishing rod into the hands of someone who hasn’t been on the water in 10 or 12 years,” Pimlott told Good News Network.

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Pimlott teamed up with Accessible Nanaimo to find people to test out his devices, and became friends with one of his testers, Paul Winkler. Winkler has taken the Chairower out for a spin multiple times, and comes back to shore with glowing reviews.

“The rowboat is definitely one of my favourites, for the independence and freedom it offers,” Winkler said to Good News Network. “It was so surprising how perfectly engineered it was, I could row the boat unassisted.”

While friends say Pimlott has faced several obstacles in his mission, he continues to devote hours to the project and is hopeful he can one day make his vessels available to those who need them, either for sale or rent, or creating a non-profit so he can donate them.

“It’s untapped,” Pimlott said. “I’m considering a crowd funding campaign to pay for the next Chairower.”

You can help support Pimlott by joining his Facebook group Fishing For All Nanaimo.