Swimming Pool Blog

ADA Pool Lift Rant

  ADA Pool Lift Rant

Rob Cox, March 6, 2012

ADA Pool Lift Rant


On the heels of VGB legislation requiring commercial and public pools to make their pool drains safer at great cost to budget strapped community and school pools, the next mandated public safety upgrade to swimming pools is to provide handicapped individuals a means of access into our nation's swimming pools.

Typically, a Blog Post Rant will be squarely on one side of the issue, however, let's pander to both sides of the fence. First, let's take the Pro-Pool Lift position, and provide some context to the proponents of adding means of access that meets certain, some would say, strict guidelines.

Pool Lifts Rule!

  • ADA legislation has been a long overdue law, and it's very far-reaching. It not only covers swimming pools, but every public space. We've become accustomed to handicapped bathrooms, curb cuts in the sidewalk, ramps into restaurants. Now is the times to bring our swimming pools into this new age of accessibility.
  • Pool lifts will add new customer base revenue to pools that have seen declining use over the years.
  • Pool lifts remove what amounts to a discriminating barrier to access to the sport and fun of swimming.
  • For handicapped persons, aquatic exercise is very therapeutic, and helps to increase circulation.

Good laws always have opposition, because good laws tend to infringe upon certain groups, at benefit to others, or for the common good. If an organization or swim club is vocal in opposition to the new pool lift law, especially certain parts of the law, it stands to reason that they don't share the mission behind the law.

The ADA pool lift law is good for the sport of swimming, and for the residents of this fine country.

Pool Lifts Drool!

  • Permanently fixed pool lifts can create a safety hazard in areas of limited deck space.
  • One pool lift for the pool and one for the spa, creates a large financial burden on swim clubs.
  • One pool lift per 300 sq ft of pool perimeter - many pools will have to install two or more lifts.
  • Many pools will close, as they did with VGB, when faced with another $20,000 expense.
  • Enforcement? DOJ oversight is powerful, but at the local level?

Bad laws are created by special interests - interested in selling more safety products. Pool lifts are not new, and have been available for 20 years. Any swim club or hotel that wants one can install one, for their paying public. This may create more opportunity for handicapped people to use our nation's pools, but perhaps in a much smaller "pool" of pools.

Two sides to every story, I suppose. The pool lift law is here to stay, and the deadline is March 15, 2012. Where do you weigh in on the ADA pool lift law? Are you ready for march 15, 2012? Do you have a Rant about pool lifts? Add your pool lift rant below, whether pro -or- con!