Summer is here. Everyone is enjoying the pool, sand, ocean—even those with mobility issues? Yes, even if you are wheelchair bound you can now enjoy the fun in the sun. The American disability act (ADA) has played a large role in allowing more disabled patrons to access public pools. The ADA states that all public pools must have an accessible means of entry for persons with a disability. The pool either needs to have a sloped or zero entry or a pool lift that is capable of being independently operated by the disabled user.
Today there are many different wheelchairs available to accommodate the pool, sand, and ocean. This article will explain some of the different products available. Once you have decided which product will work best for your needs check out all the different manufacturers as each product will have different specifications including all the bells and whistles.
The first product is a pool wheelchair. This wheelchair is typically constructed out of PVC. Most pool wheelchairs have standard size wheels and can be pushed directly into a pool with a slope entry or lowered into a pool so a person can transfer from the pool lift to the pool wheelchair. This wheelchair is designed specifically for the pool and not the ocean. However, some pool wheelchairs do have the ability to replace the standard wheels to a “flotation” type wheels to easily push over the sand at the beach.
If you are planning on using your wheelchair for the beach you would be better off with a beach wheelchair. There are a few different kinds. The standard beach wheelchair has 4 “flotation” type wheels with an aggressive suspension allowing all the wheels to keep contact with the sand. They can be pushed into the water but they may sink in the wet sand. They are generally used for dry sand, grass and even snow. If you are the adventurous type you might consider the all-terrain beach wheelchair. These are usually power operated. They have large “off-road” type tires perfect for all terrains. These wheelchairs are heavy and not made to be submerged into water
If you like to enjoy the pool, beach and ocean you are in luck. The newest product out is called the floating beach wheelchair. This chair is designed with large floating armrests. It also is manufactured with 4 large wheels. This allows the user to go from car to beach to ocean without having to transfer. Once in the floating wheelchair the large wheels will allow you to push easily over the sand or grass. It reclines so you can lie back and soak in the rays. Need to cool off? Push the floating beach wheelchair right into the water. The lightweight frame floating tires and floating armrests allow the wheelchair to float over the water. Unlike a pool wheelchair where you are stationary in the water a floating beach wheelchair is like lying on a float in the pool or ocean. Since you are strapped into the chair for safety reasons you need to be accompanied by another person. The floating armrests are usually very colorful allowing life guards to keep a better look out. Two manufacturers of this chair is the Mobi-chair which you can access their website at mobi-chair.com and the DeBug wheelchair at beachwheelchair.com.
Whichever product you think is right for you see if you can rent it first. Many beaches are now more accessible and even offer rental beach wheelchairs. Slather on your sun screen get out and enjoy the water.