Wheelchair-friendly fishing boats weren’t a thing until John Fohs decided to create one after struggling to take his wheelchair-bound father fishing. He joined up with Virginia Beach fishing buddy Dolph Jerabek to start the nonprofit Wheels on Deck – an organization designed to get more anglers with disabilities out on the water.
The Bazinga, a 43-foot North Carolina-built fishing boat, is at the heart of the endeavor. John purchased the boat, which boasts a wide-open fishing cockpit and captain’s helm that inspired him to turn it into a boat that accommodates anglers in wheelchairs. He and his partner have invested a quarter of a million dollars to transform the vessel.
It will be harbored at OBX Marina in Wanchese, NC and they will use charter staff from the marina’s fleet.
John and Dolph plan to further their efforts by reaching out to national organizations that help people with disabilities that confine them to wheelchairs and work with as many of them as possible. They are also looking to partner with groups such as The Wounded Warrior Project, Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Wheelchair Foundation of America, Fishing Has No Boundaries and North Carolina Handicapped Sportsmen.
Fohs and Jerabeck’s ultimate goal is to build a fleet of specially-designed fishing boats for different types of angling. They’d like to join efforts with a wheelchair company to design a chair that would top the one they’ve created.
Original story reported by pilotonline.com.