How can people in wheelchairs access the boat?
There is a ramp from the dock to the boat. Once inside, there is plenty of room to move around the boat. There are individual chairs that can be removed to make room for wheelchairs, and we stabilize the wheelchair once it's in place, so that the guest can fish and enjoy the boat ride!
Can I bring my therapy/emotional support animal?
Where is the boat located in the docks?
The Jo-Ann M is located at the East Basin along State Street in Erie, PA. The boarding location is located on Presque Isle State Park at The Ferry Dock/Cookhouse Pavilion unless otherwise noted. At the top, right of this page, there is a link to Google Maps :)
How many people can the boat hold?
We welcome 10-12 guests with special needs. Each guest will be accompanied by a TSS/wrap-around/caregiver/family member/etc. for a total of no more than 24 passengers.
Who will be with me on my outing?
It depends. We organize outings that specifically cater to those with special needs. For example, on Monday we may have a group of 8-10 year-old children with autism. We will create a specialized experience for that group who may want to fish for 20 minutes and then spend the rest of the time going on a boat ride exploring Lake Erie. A few days later, we may welcome guests who are disabled veterans and use wheelchairs who want to fish the entire time and take in the peacefulness of the water. Our goal is to provide specific outings to cater to groups of people with similar special needs to create meaningful experiences for our guests.
Is there a bathroom?
A “head,” the nautical name for a bathroom, is present on the boat. Privacy for the head is a curtain that can encompass any size wheelchair. The Jo-Ann M’s head is a brand new, wheelchair accessible standard toilet that a person might find in their home. While the head is available, it is meant for people who really find they have a need to use the facilities. Please be sure to use a restroom prior to boarding the vessel.
How loud will it be?
As was noted above, the boat is powered by a big diesel engine. For some, the sound and the “feel” of the engine will be exciting. For those who are initially sensitive to loud sounds, we have noise canceling headphones that will be provided upon request.
How do I make a reservation?
Go to our “Set A Date” tab. View the available dates ("Open Dates") and contact Executive Director, Rob Wilson, via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (814-657-4024) to schedule the date.
What social media do you have?
We use Facebook and Instagram the most.
How much does it cost per person?
The cost is $50 per person that comes aboard for a charter experience. Under certain circumstances, scholarships are offered. Please contact Rob Wilson through the Contact Us tab to inquire about scholarship possibilities.
Will I need to bring my own fishing pole?
You are welcome to bring your own fishing gear. However, fishing gear is provided.
What if the weather is bad? Will we still go out?
Due to the unique protective qualities of the Erie’s own Presque Isle, those traveling from a distance will be able to spend time on the water even when the the weather is windy as the bay is very protective and the water remains calm. Also, due to the deckhouse of the vessel, guests are protected from intense sun as well as rainy conditions. In extreme circumstances, guests will be contacted to reschedule a trip.
Is food allowed?
Food and drink are encouraged. Please feel free to bring an enjoyable lunch and even an extra snack for the crew 😉
Is alcohol allowed?
Under no circumstances is alcohol allowed.
Are drugs allowed?
Under no circumstances are illicit drugs allowed.
Can I volunteer? How?
Yes! From time to time there are opportunities to help At The Lake Ministries. Please contact Rob Wilson by using the 'Contact Us' page on this website.
What types of licenses do the captains have?
All captains have U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Master’s licenses.
How early should I come before my outing?
Being present at least 30 minutes prior to the trip is encouraged. In the case of those with special needs that might need to have time to acclimate to their environment, guests are welcomed to come even earlier.
What is the procedure to cancel?
If a guest must cancel, please contact Rob Wilson. Pertinent contact information will be provided during the registration process.
What clothing is suggested?
Please dress appropriately (hat, coats, sweaters, rain jacket for those fishing near the rail, and sunglasses). Also, please bring sunscreen to prevent sunburn. While the boat is covered, the sunshine has a wonderful way of reflecting off the water. By the way, if motion sickness might be a problem, a product like non-drowsy Dramamine can really be a blessing 🙂
What other items are provided on the boat?
There are 2 blankets (that have been generously donated to us) that are available for guests, one of which is a weighted blanket. Sea bands are also available for guests who may become seasick on board.
How do I make a donation?
Donations can be sent to:
Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference UMC, Memo: At The Lake Ministries
1204 Freedom Rd. P.O. Box 5002 Cranberry, PA 16066
If you wish to donate items, please contact us for more information.
Directions to the Cookhouse Pavilion, Erie, PA (click here)