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Accessibility aids

F-12PPL-HD_Patriot Lift Pic #8
Pool and spa lifts are gaining popularity as the population ages and the benefits of aquatic exercise become more well known.

By Kristine Archer

Swimming and other water aerobic activities have long been acknowledged as excellent ways to stay fit and healthy, no matter the swimmer’s age, fitness level or physical limitations. However, gaining access to pools can create a barrier to the benefits of water activities for the elderly or physically challenged.

Thankfully, today’s pool accessory manufacturers are providing several lift options that can help any person, no matter his or her physical condition, to gain access to the benefits of water-based fitness programs.

Lending a helping hand

Aqua Creek Products of Missoula, Mon., has been specializing in the manufacture and distribution of assisted access equipment for aquatic environments, specifically aquatic lifts, for more than eight years.

“Our lifts are designed to provide those who have mobility challenges access to pools and spas in order to appreciate the benefits of aquatic therapy,” says Bruce Giffin, Aqua Creek’s national sales manager. “Our lifts are constructed of all stainless steel, provide lifting capacities up to 227 kg (500 lbs) and incorporate a rechargeable battery-operated system to reduce the cost and time of installation. We also offer two completely portable lifts that require no anchoring and can be retrofit to existing ‘Pro Pool Lifts’ already in the field.”

PAL Flyer 2009
Portable lifts, such as this ‘PAL’ model from S.R. Smith, can be made to accommodate inground or above-ground pools.

S.R. Smith manufactures and distributes a complete line of swimming pool lifts, all designed to facilitate access to swimming and boating facilities. John Caden, the company’s director of pool lifts, says S.R. Smith’s PAL and Splash series are the company’s best sellers. Both use a linear actuator powered by a rechargeable battery to ensure reliable operation. The ‘PAL’ series of portable lifts require no attachment to the pool deck, and are available in three different versions to accommodate inground and above-ground pools. The company’s ‘Splash’ series lifts are similar, but are mounted into a deck anchor and available in an ‘Extended Reach’ model.

The company also offers the ‘aXs’ lift, which is specifically designed for residential and small commercial facilities, and the ‘Handy’ lift, which also works in residential applications.

Eco-friendly assistance

Aquatic Access designs, manufactures and sells a variety of eco-friendly lifts for inground and above-ground pools, therapy tubs, hot tubs and swim spas.

“Each lift is adapted to meet a customer’s specified needs,” says marketing manager, Liz Waters.

The eco-friendly aspects of the designs include the lifts’ reliance on the power of flowing water, a clean and renewable source. The company’s ‘Pool Lift IGAT-180’ and ‘IGAT-180/135’ lifts can accommodate up to 181 kg (400 lbs) using normal household water pressure. Both are portable, mounted in a deck socket for stability and available in an above-deck style for pools with covers. Both models can also be modified into a heavy-duty unit, lifting far greater weights. The IGAT-180/135 is specifically designed for pools and spas with built-in benches.

Aquatic Access also offers the ‘Pool Lift IGRC,’ a manual lift designed for low profiles. The company’s water-powered AG (above-ground) lifts fit a variety of above-ground pools and spas, including free standing above-ground pools and swim spas.

“In recent years, we have noticed more people than ever are more inclined to take charge of their health and well-being,” Waters says. “More evidence is emerging showing the numerous benefits of aquatic therapy and exercise in achieving and maintaining good health. Lifts allow disabled individuals to enjoy these benefits.”

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