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Captaining The Blind Fishing Boat

Picture: Lawrence with a large mouth Bass

The story behind the Blind Fishing Boat, the world's first of its type, started with a leaky 21-year-old fibreglass boat. While my first vessel may not have been the most seaworthy, it precipitated the linkage of my extensive experience in creating accessible solutions for the blind with my love of boating and fishing. Today, I am Captain of both the LillyAnne I and II.

Fishing has been my passion since my earliest years. It's continued to be a big part of my life due largely to my inability to see having little impact on my participating in many forms of the sport. I believe both sighted and non-sighted fishers have in common the pursuit of an unseen quarry, and they employ technologies, from the simple hook to sophisticated fish sonar, to catch what, they can only surmise, swims beneath the waves.

With the support of numerous sponsors from the fishing and assistive technology sectors, I am working hard to apply solutions so fishers with vision disabilities can benefit from the same advancements in technology that their sighted counterparts enjoy. I'm amazed how fishing equipment manufacturers focus their products on enhancing human senses such as touch, smell and sound.

Sport fishing is witnessing a proliferation of unique styles of fishing and associated equipment. My reports on "Blind Fishing Adventures" and descriptions of techniques and gear are therefore intended to inform other fishers with limited or no sight on what works best. I am also assisting those in the fishing retail and service sectors to gain a better understanding of this segment of the marketplace.

If you are experiencing vision loss and want to keep fishing or you're considering taking it up for the first time, you will find a wealth of information on the Blind Fishing Boat website. Additionally, if you require information on how to expand products or services for the blind or partially sighted, or you have a question you think I may be able to answer, you can email me. I am also available to share my knowledge and experience on the water through presentations or keynote addresses.

Contact Lawrence Euteneier, Captain, the Blind Fishing Boat: Tel.: 613-298-3028; Email:; Website: www.blindfishingboat.comLawrence Euteneier is a member of AEBC's Ottawa-Gatineau Chapter. Being registered as blind at age eight and having no functional vision by 20, much of his training and employment has focused on technology as the great leveller for persons with disabilities.

Lawrence's background includes a Masters in Environmental Science from York University, Toronto, which included conducting research with Canada's Inuit on their traditional integration practices, and in Sweden on their innovative integration solutions.

Experiences such as Chairing the federal government's accessibility committee, serving as the Special Technology Advisor to the Senate of Canada, and conceiving and deploying leading-edge internet access technologies like Web-4-All, have led to his receiving a number of private, consumer and public awards such as the Governor General's Meritorious Service Medal and the Federal Public Service Achievement of Excellence Award.

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