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Ergonomics for the Boat

By Don Posh


Ergonomics are generally applied to the workplace to increase efficiency and prevent injury. Adjusting the height of a work station to the person using it prevents physical stress and injury.

With fishing, the ability to stay out just a little longer can be achieved by adding ergonomics. It is nice to have a padded seat in the boat. Just like a work station, the seat height is important. There are adjustable seat height pedestals that raise and lower the seat. It really comes in handy when using a foot control trolling motor. Having the seat adjusted to your needs will help to reduce stress on your back, hips and knees.

There are a variety of styles and manufacturers.

Prices start at $22 - $600

Another add on for the boat is armrests. This is helpful for those of us that throw lures, especially for the Muskie hunters. The stress of throwing heavy lures for hours at a time can cause upper back, neck and shoulder stress. The armrests take pressure off and provide comfort. There are few varieties of these available. Some seats are sold with armrests.

Prices begin at $70.

Since writing this article last year I have made these changes to my own boat. My fishing partners as well as myself are older with the wear and tear of physical labor. We found the changes have resulted in the ability to remain out fishing longer and less pain following our excursions.

Fishing has no Boundaries has had many years of experience serving persons with disabilities with events and equipment. Beginning in 1988 in Hayward WI, the vision was to make the outdoors more accessible and inclusive. They are a great resource for equipment to allow one to fish despite a mobility or dexterity disability. As we age mobility and dexterity loss is common, but they do not need to be a barrier to our outdoor experiences. Fishing has no Boundaries can be reached at 715-635-3185 or on their website:

Coming up Locally, the Hayward Chapter of Fishing has no Boundaries annual fishing event on the Chippewa Flowage May 17 and 18. A dedicated group of volunteers assists attendees with all aspects of fishing. Pontoon boats are available with drivers to get you out on the water. There are also fishing events planned in various locations throughout the summer. So if you miss this one, connect with the phone number or through the website previously provided for a list of fishing opportunities.

Last but not least are ramps. There are ramps available to assist with boarding the pontoon. My research has found a ramp width should be a 32 inch minimum. This width will accommodate a wheelchair or walker safely. A ramp can make the difference between watching others on the lake or taking part with your friends and family to fish, or maybe just to enjoy being out on the water for a sunset cruise.

Reel em in!

Be Well...We're All In This Together! 

For more information on The ergonomics for the boat or other assistive technology devices contact: indiGO serving Douglas, Bayfield, Iron, Price, Sawyer, Washburn, and Burnett Counties including Tribal communities of Red Cliff, Bad River, La Courte Oreilles and St Croix.

Main office: 800-924-1220 V/TTY

Our non-profit agency, indiGO, aims to empower individuals living with disabilities and we are available to assist ALL ages and disabilities.  We are not a vendor and do not sell any products, but we are here as a resource. Alternate formats and accommodations are available by request. 


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