ADA Compliance: Accessible Swimming Pools and Spas

accessible swimming pools

Swimming is a wonderful activity for building health, reducing stress and having fun. Imagine you look forward to enjoying the pool on your vacation and even picked a particular hotel because of its water amenities. Now, pretend you are there but cannot use the pool because there is no accessible entry for the wheelchair you use. Heartbreak ensues.

Good news for accessibility advocates came in 2010 when the Department of Justice published new regulations for owners of public pools and spas. They were now required to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. According to the mandates, hotel owners and others with public water amenities must provide accessible entry and exits for persons with disabilities. Extensions granted to early 2013 gave these owners additional time to comply.

Hotels can install pool lifts or construct sloped entries in their pools and spas to achieve accessible entries and exits. Many choose portable pool lifts due to relative affordability. These lifts must meet certain standards regarding clear floor space, seat width and weight capacity in order to be compliant. Note the lift must be “out” and in good working condition during all open pool hours. Also, pool employees must receive instruction in how to use the piece of equipment.

Accessibility advocates must note the ADA does not always require compliance to swimming pools and spas accessibility standards. A property owner does not have to install a lift or provide sloped entry if it is not “readily achievable”. Be aware that guests can file lawsuits that challenge these assertions

Contact us when you need information regarding ADA compliance.