Aquatic facilities looking for an enhancement that is exciting, innovative and extremely safe, take note: The AquaClimb is endorsed for all of those features and more. The Aquatic Safety Research Group, an independent and objective water safety consultant firm, has published a white paper detailing their findings and recommendations regarding installation, use and safety features of the AquaClimb.
The group found the AquaClimb to be an excellent alternative to a diving board in a swimming pool which no longer meets safe diving depth and distance requirements. Because of the minimal number of footholds on the AquaClimb, It is almost biomechanically impossible for a climber to fall head first into the water, so reentry is almost always feet first. To ensure safety of climbers, AquaClimb has applied commonly accepted safe head-first diving depths to feet-first entries from the structure.
Another safe feature of the AquaClimb design is that swimmers begin the climb while in the water. The “swim up” approach ensures that only those with appropriate swimming abilities can access the wall. The Aquatic Safety Research Group also recommended:
- Specific swimming tests for users who appear to have weaker swimming abilities
- Demarcation of the AquaClimb zone in and out of the water
- Placards and signs posting rules for users
- Development of specific entrance and exit patterns
- Prohibition of users who don’t meet the requirements or do not follow the usage guidelines
- AquaClimb trained lifeguard or safety attendant who is positioned for optimal viewing of users as they climb, as well as when they are submerged
To adequately test and analyze the AquaClimb, the Aquatic Safety Research Group had one of the walls installed in the Pennsylvania State University’s main campus aquatic center 10 years ago. “I was pleased to learn how attractive it was to our students, and how it promoted fun and fitness in the pool with a new and exciting activity that was safe,” writes Tom Griffiths, President and Founder of the group. Since then, the Aquatic Safety Research Group has inspected hundreds of aquatic facilities across the nation.
Griffiths went on to write that they discovered that:
AquaClimb walls are a safer alternative to many other poolside recreational products, primarily because swimmers do not have to climb a ladder in a wet environment over a concrete swimming pool deck. Because AquaClimb is accessed from the water inside the swimming pool, rather the swimming pool deck, there is very little chance of a child falling and hitting the deck. Further, the AquaClimb is angled out over the water, and as a result it is very improbable, if not impossible, that a child can fall to the deck.”
As an expert witness in courts of law, Griffiths knows a lot about the types of safety hazards present when you combine children, water, concrete and other components. “I see many horrific accidents involving diving boards and slides, but I have never heard of an accident of any kind, minor or major, involving an AquaClimb,” he says.
The Aquatic Safety Research Group travels around the country to teach full day Aquatic Risk Management Seminars. As part of the program, Griffiths tells attendees that the AquaClimb is a safe, fun, fitness alternative to other pool products. “I’ve also said that I have never seen a pool product installed as quickly in a swimming pool as an AquaClimb.”
Prior to purchasing and installing an AquaClimb, aquatic facilities should contact their local regulatory agency (e.g. Health Department) to determine whether regulations, recommendations or suggestions regarding the safe installation and use of the AquaClimb exist. AquaClimb aids customers in discovering these regulations and ensures a design that will be in full compliance.