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Recently I was approached by someone who works with physically handicapped individuals about coordinating a fishing event for her group like we do for the wounded veterans. Initially she was looking to get them on the ice and, due to the slippery nature of the ice alone, I was not in favor of that idea and suggested maybe an open water event and that I would look into it for her. While I am all about offering on-water experiences, I have some concerns. So I wanted to get some feedback on a few things from others, guides and charter captains in particular, who may have had experiences to share since I do not take clients out and (other than the few veterans we have hosted) predominantly fish with just my team and some students from school. Obviously weather/wave conditions would be a primary concern and shore or bay fishing could be an alternative. Are there any particular liability issues to be aware of or special insurance requirements that would have to be met? Are there any events of this nature currently being conducted that I could potentially mimic in designing one for her group? Anyone have any stories good or bad to share? Suggestions, things to be aware of, etc. that I can take back to her should she want to pursue putting an event together? Thank you in advance for the help/info in this regard!

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Having a brother who is permanently disabled and in a wheelchair, there is much more to it than you think. Yes, lots of liability issues to consider. That being said, I know of two Lake Ontario ports that are working on getting wheel chair lifts installed. I think this idea is just ahead of itself until lauches and marinas get the proper equipment installed. Getting some people out on a smaller scale successfully first, before putting together an event would build interest and be a better idea.

Many of the dedicated charter operators on Lake Ontario have had individuals aboard with various handicaps. It takes great care from both the charter operation AND the party that brought the individual to ensure their safety and comfort onboard. It can be done, but with all the unforseen challenges Lake Ontario and Salmon fishing can dish out my suggestion is to take it slow. In some cases the individuals do not know they have hurt themselves until afterwards. Depending on the handicap, they cannot protect or steady themselves like most people can. Start by looking into some of the piers that may be handicap accessible if you and your point person are determined to have some form of a competition. Much easier to monitor everyone and help is much closer.     

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Great insight Vince, thank you. I'm not bent on putting an event together, simply gathering information to bring back to her and then see if it's something she would like to pursue. I agree that a land-based event would probably be a good starter event and then baby-step it from there. 

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I've have a few customers with various handicaps from being in a wheelchair to being deaf and mute and it takes planning, patience, and a lot of hard work to provide a safe successful trip. I find it very rewarding, but I feel it takes a certain type of person and shouldnt be entered into lightly as it's far more difficult than you think. It was an eye opening experience taking Captain Vince and his brother archery hunting. I had no idea how hard it would be and Vince had been doing this alone for years. My recommendation would be to try it on a very small scale and really listen to the needs of each handicapped individual because each person will have different challenges and needs. As far as insurance and liability issues go that's not a problem if you have charter insurance. Without it you probably don't have proper coverage from the time they leave their vehicle until they return to it.

Sent from my E6810 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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Thank you Justin & others, appreciate the feedback! Will pass on the information and see if anything transpires. 

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