Swimming is an activity with many benefits. It can be physically and mentally therapeutic and should be an activity that's accessible for everyone. The cooling, buoyant feature of water allows wheelchair bound individuals the ability to move in ways that would be impossible on the ground.
Many public pools have made it a priority to install pool ramps. The people behind large Walt Disney water parks around the world, for example, have designed several pools with zero-entry pool ramps in the past few years. These descend into the water like a shore would to the sea, and then deepen gradually to a standard depth. Everyone deserves the right to enjoy a pool on a hot summer day. Thanks to zero-entry pool ramps almost everyone can.
When a ramp is installed on an existing pool that cannot be reconfigured to accommodate a zero-entry ramp, a more conventional style wheelchair pool ramp can do the trick. White plastic piping is connected to construct a ramp that will lend a gentle slope for a wheelchair to glide into the shallow end of a pool. Public pool facilities that are equipped with wheelchair ramps often provide special aquatic wheelchairs with push rims. Pool wheelchairs are often constructed of the same white piping as the ramp. Do not enter a pool in your standard, metal wheelchair, unless you have waterproof bearings. This action will destroy certain moving parts and damage the finish of your chair.
As with any land ramp, wheelchair pool ramps must follow certain guidelines in order to comply with local codes and standards. The slope ratio is consistent with every ramp at a maximum of 1:12. With pool ramps, the lesser the slope, the more gradual the entry will be, so it's recommended to construct the most gentle slope possible.
The surface of a wheelchair pool ramp must be slip resistant and the ramp must be installed very securely to the landings. Level landings must be present at the bottom and top of the ramp where firm and reliable contact is made for attachment. Another crucial wheelchair ramp specification is obligatory handrails. Two handrails must be installed, one on each side of the ramp, and must measure between 32- and 36-inches apart. Handrails must be sturdy, secure and shouldn't allow for any movement.