On December 10, 2010, La Plata opened one of the largest wheelchair-accessible freshwater fishing platforms in the Caribbean. In the first development of its kind, EZ Dock’s modular, self-floating dock sections were tailored to create a fully accessible fishing platform that stretches out over 100 feet onto the surface of La Plata Lake. Lago La Plata serves as a reservoir for potable water and is located between the municipalities of Naranjito, Toa Alta, and Bayamón in Puerto Rico.
The 1,000-acre lake is the third largest of 20 man-made lakes in Puerto Rico, and is well stocked due to the Puerto Rico’s federal fish stocking programs. Today, it boasts one of the most robust freshwater fishing destinations in Puerto Rico, fed by Rio de la Plata, the longest river in Puerto Rico, which runs approximately 60 miles from the highlands of Guayama before draining into the Atlantic Ocean near the capitol of San Juan. Lake La Plata provides an excellent fishing destination for Largemouth bass, Peacock bass, and sunfish.
Edgardo Brignoni, an EZ Dock representative in Puerto Rico, coordinated the project with the Department of Natural Resources to install a system that would allow unprecedented accessibility to La Plata for people of all abilities. The new dock is currently the only designated fishing area on the lake. It allows people of all abilities the opportunity to get all the way out onto the water, enabling a fishing experience not readily available to people of all abilities.
“Disabled boys and girls can go to that platform and go 100 feet inside the shoreline to catch fish,” Brignoni said. “It’s just beautiful smiles on all of them, and they think that there are no limits for them right now.”
EZ Dock’s self-floating system was ideal for Puerto Rico’s rising and falling lake levels, to ensure that the dock could remain open year round.
“Our EZ Dock platform is the only one that accepts all of those changing levels in Puerto Rico,” Brignoni said. “If you build a concrete or a wood dock, when the water level goes up, the dock would be under the water. So we use our system to work with all of those levels.”
Brignoni is currently working with the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources to install similar EZ Dock systems in other lakes in Puerto Rico. According to Brignoni, future developments will include installing EZ Dock’s EZ Launch Accessible Transfer System for Kayaks and Canoes, to enable disabled paddlers access to Puerto Rico’s tropical waterways.
With continued innovation and a dedication to serving the widest range of people possible, EZ Dock has become the leading dock manufacturer for people of all abilities.