Problem Solver - August 2008
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Improving Pool Accessibility

Swimming and aquatic exercise offer an ideal way to work out, eliminating the joint-pounding, weight-bearing strain of many out-of-the-water workouts. That's why many doctors, trainers and therapists recommend swimming for the disabled, the elderly and for those recovering from injuries or surgery.

But for many of these patrons, the traditional ladder or steps used to get in and out of the pool are not an option. Even if you don't offer programs targeted specifically to their needs, your facility will only benefit by adding accessibility options to help more of these patrons into the water.

Q: How can I improve accessibility?

A: It's simple. You just need a pool lift. You'll find a full line of lifts available throughout the industry that will enable patrons of every ability to get into and out of the water with ease and dignity.

But if you also offer programming and swim times for day camps, swim meets and adult lap-swimming, you don't want your pool lift to block an entire lane or become an obstacle. That's where a portable pool lift comes in.

With a portable lift, you can easily roll the lift into place when it's needed, and just as simply move it out of the way when it's not needed. Simply roll the lift into place along the edge of the pool and lock the wheels before use.

This option is great for those with programming targeted to different types of users, but it's also perfect for facilities that have multiple bodies of water and want to be able to allow access at various points. Rather than providing access to a single pool through a stationary lift, you'll be able to give patrons access to any of the appropriate bodies of water.

Q: Will a portable lift adhere to ADA specifications for pool lifts?

A: Definitely. Just check with your manufacturer to find out how your portable lift meets the requirements. Specifications within the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) set specific water depth requirements, clear deck space requirements and requirements for seat height and width, footrests, lifting capacity and so forth.

For example, seats must be at least 16 inches wide. Some portable lifts offer seats as wide as 18.5 inches, exceeding the requirement.

Lifts also must be capable of unassisted operation, and a person must be able to call the lift when it is in either the deck or water position. Portable lifts with a waterproof remote control will offer this flexibility to your patrons.

RMT Aquatics: