Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Shore-S-EZ - A Solution for the Handicapped Boater

For disabled people, boating can be the Mt. Everest of the outdoor world.  Water and flotation are not the most stable of platforms when attempting to transfer someone in a power chair, manual chair or even someone who just needs assistance.

The solutions are usually very pricey.  Lifts, whether from the dock or the boat, can prove costly and sometimes difficult to operate smoothly.  Most people begin looking at options with adding accessibility to their boat itself.  But again, the dollars needed can overwhelm someone who just wants to get themselves or their loved-one back on the water.

I have some very good news.  Recently, I was contacted by Bob Dishon from EZ Designs.  He manufactures a ramping mechanism that can be added to many pontoon style boats to make them accessible.   The Shore-S-EZ comes in a kit and can be added by your dealer or by any good ole do-it-yourselfer.

I asked Bob where the inspiration came from. He told me that in 2007 his grandson was hurt in an accident at the tender age of 3.  At first, Bob just bought a pontoon boat in 2010 as many of them are already friendly to disabled people in wheelchairs. But as the child has grown into a young man, a new solution was necessary.  As he grew in size, it became more and more difficult to get him on and off the boat.

Bob entered his shop determined to come up with a solution and wow, did he have a stroke of genius.

The Shore-S-EZ is a 32" wide ramp that can extend out to 5 feet.  it can be raised to about 25 degrees or lowered to around 33 degrees of angle (more on this in a minute).  It is powered by an electric motor and all the of the parts are water resistant.  The micro switches that control the ramp are waterproof which is really nice (not salt-water friendly).

The angles this thing can achieve are really amazing particularly the 33 degrees of lowering which will put the ramp below the level of the water's surface.  That's right, now you can help someone slide into the water to ride that cool new pull thingy. And when they're done, lower the ramp again and help them slide back up to deck level.  Pretty neat!

This thing can be great for the able bodied camper or hunter also.  Ever had a good bit of gear that you are trying to lug on and off a boat on some remote camping site or hunting spot?  Not a problem, the ramp makes this rather easy.  Need to load that 500 pound Elk on the bank of a lake or river?  Lower the ramp and give it a tug with a winch...done!

I asked Bob the big question - How much for this glorious piece of freedom?  At the time of this writing, the price point is only $4,750. For an additional $250 you can add a ramp with a toe-kick that will help flatten out the transition from Terra Firma to the boat.

The great news is that Bob is very determined to keep this below the $5,000 thresh-hold.

He also mentioned a couple of things to keep in mind:

1.  Shipping - The ramp kit weighs about 180 lbs.  Shipping will vary based on your location from their shop in Kalispell, Montana.  It takes about 3 weeks to craft your ramp and ship it out.

2.  Limitations - Each ramp is hand crafted and needs to match specific measurements on your pontoon.  The triple pontoon boats that are becoming popular cannot be fitted as the third pontoon is placed precisely in the gap between the two outer pontoons where the ramp needs to be attached.

Check out their Facebook page and as I said before, I think this is a stroke of genius.  Thanks Bob for overcoming the difficulties your grandson faces.  A family that fish's together stays together.  All the best to you and yours champion!

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