First-of-its-kind boat grants independence to disabled fishermen – Port Isabel-South Padre Press

By ALEXANDER BAILEY
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“I can, I have done it and I will do it again” is the motto of the country’s first ever fishing boat, specially designed so that people with disabilities can experience the joys of the ocean and fishing in the best possible way. as independent as possible. He resides and was born right here on South Padre Island.

Sturdy, stable, and featuring specially raised rails, large doors, ramps, wheelchair tie-downs, hand-held shower, open floor plan, and even a sound-operated power lift chair. occupant lowering into the water, the ICan covers all the bases. This boat is the brain child of Shane Wilson, but would not be possible without the help and expertise of Captain Shane Lippoldt. Wilson purchased a Tritoon, a triple-hull pontoon boat, and the two, in partnership with engineers Russell Davidson and Bill Hoenes, spent a year remodeling it with accessibility in mind.

Wilson, an avid fisherman for most of his life, was born in Alexandria, Indiana, and raised in central Indiana. He married in 1994, and two years later he and his wife moved full-time to South Padre Island. Wilson, now retired, is a former elementary and middle school instructor and administrator. In 2007, he created Fishing’s Future.

Fishing’s Future, a 501 c3 company with the four-part mission to strengthen family bonds, reconnect families to nature, protect, conserve and restore the nation’s aquatic natural resources by teaching environmental stewardship and by increasing participation in recreational fishing, was the brainchild of Wilson while he was principal of the Point Isabel ISD Alternative School.

“The kids who got kicked out of school were good kids. I kept thinking, ‘Why are they coming here?’ Well, they were making bad decisions. Over a period of 12 years, I realized that their poor decisions were due to the fact that many of them lacked parental involvement,” Wilson explained.

His goal was to keep families together forever, and he thought fishing was the perfect way because, growing up, he bonded with his own family in the same way. “There’s no better quality time than being on the water,” exclaimed Wilson. He began teaching families how to spend time together fishing to promote strong family relationships. “I am not a children’s organization. I am a family organization,” Wilson said. Since Fishing’s Future came to fruition in 2007, it has over 60 chapters across America.

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