On Deck & Beyond

Then there is the consideration for the type of drainage that would be best for the project. Of course, inadequate drainage leads to water puddling on the deck surface. This puddling raises the risk of camper accidents and the standing water degrades the deck surface more rapidly.

The two main types of drains are slot drains (which are at the surface of the deck and don’t require as much crowning of the deck surface but can collect debris and back up to degrade the surface) and trench drains (which do require sloping of the deck in four directions but do not collect the debris and malfunction as often). Care should also be given to the placement of the drains so that it provides enough coverage for the entire deck to be cleaned without puddles forming.

4. Skimping on storage. Many injuries can come from campers tripping over equipment left on the pool deck. Clear the deck by strategically placing an abundance of storage around the deck area. This will prevent injuries, save money on replacing equipment that can “walk away” because it is not secured, and it preserves the quality of camp programming because there is adequate deck space for instruction.

5. Forgetting about the spectators. Spectators come in all ages and interests: parents who want to watch a swim lesson, campers who arrive a little early for their lesson, and competitors at swim meets want to observe what is going on before their events.

If you neglect the spectator needs in your pool deck design, you can have overcrowding of people and dirt that they bring in on your deck and just a lack of control over how each camp program progresses.

Make sure that you think about how to accommodate spectators before they arrive for your first event. You have several options to accommodate spectators and talking it through with other camp owners might help you to discover things like most telescoping bleachers aren’t made to resist corrosion from pool chemicals and moisture; glassed-in viewing areas are great to prevent dirt and separate competitors from spectators but don’t allow spectators to feel like they are part of the event because they cannot cheer and hear the announcements and the starter’s signal; or that separate, open air balconies usually require more costs for access and egress accommodations. Approach all of these factors with great care and research and then find the best solution that you can afford.

6. No formal plan for risk management. Having the required safety equipment, provide adequate mounting for the equipment, purchasing fixtures that are resistant to corrosion, and providing ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) (for appliances that require electricity, everything from cleaning equipment, scorekeeping and timing devices, and the sound system for music and public announcements).

7. Overlooking the importance of signage: failure to warn is one of the most commonly cited causes of negligence in tort cases involving aquatic injuries.

Pool decks need to have water depths conspicuously posted, no diving warnings need to be obvious to swimmers in the shallow end of the pool, and pool rules must be posted and reviewed by people who enter the pool area.

No running allowed on the pool deck needs to be reinforced by both signs and pool supervisors early and often. USA Swimming has a great web page on proper signage that everyone who operates a pool should take time to review at www.usaswimming.org.

8. Designing a Pool Deck without consulting the ADA guidelines. President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law in 1990 (which is a comprehensive civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability).

The ADA requires that newly constructed and altered state and local government facilities, places of public accommodation and commercial facilities be readily accessible to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities.

The ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) is the standard applied to buildings and facilities. Recreational facilities, including swimming pools, wading pools, and spas, are among the facilities required to comply with the ADA. The Access Board issued accessibility guidelines for newly constructed and altered recreation facilities in 2002. The recreation facility guidelines can be found at www.access-board.gov/recreation/guides/pools.htm

There are many concerned advocacy groups who are working hard to see that recreational design/construction/renovations are helping people with disabilities to take part in recreational activities.

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