Seating for the disabled

I have someone with a large weight and balance problem. They simply can’t sit in the center of the canoe seat. They can argue with you about it for hours, but if you say “move your butt over two inches to the left” they simply can’t do it. They don’t understand. It’s a disability.

I have not been able to take them out because they can turn a canoe in 30 seconds every time. They can’t sit on the floor. Too fat. Not enough flexibility to get in and out. It is a struggle to get off their butt on the living room floor. Despite physical problems so severe, I’d call this person disabled, they want to try again. I’m looking for seats that would be lower than the ones in the canoe, but not exactly on the floor. Last winter Cabelas had something that put your butt about 6" off the floor, but they do not carry them anymore. Even if I put outriggers on the canoe, I fear tipping. It is also a mental disability this person has. They are attracted to hazards. I think they subconsciously tip the canoe out of spite. Day to day activities let’s just leave it at a huge common sense deficit all around.

Basically I have to make the canoe un-tipable because if there is a way, there is the will to do it. In the past, the solution was to leave them home.

This is one case where the dreaded
word “sponsons” must be spoken. There’s an outfit called Spring Creek that makes attachments with outrigger sponsons that will make the canoe hard to tip.

And I think you may want the seat set so that the person’s arms can rest comfortably on the gunwales.

Speaking as one who used to work with the developmentally disabled, I think you may want to scout around for a person who can give behavioral and practical advice. Perhaps eventually the “client” will find the core activities of paddling to be the main source of reinforcement and excitement. Along the way, however, oppositional behavior may delay progress.

It might help for the “client” to see other disabled individuals paddling. That might introduce just the right amount of jealousy and motivation. But the others must not give attention to the “client” being obstinate.

The T-Cat is your answer
Tex’s Riverways rents a setup they call the T-Cat for their Green River trips. Four of us overloaded a T-Cat for a 7 day trip and never once did it feel like it would tip over.

“The T-cat uses two of our 17’ Grumman canoes strapped together using 2 x 4’s with a small plywood platform in between. The T-cat is a great set up for families with small children or for groups with odd numbers.”