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Revitalizing interest in public pools with inflatable play structures

Set-up and anchoring

There are various ways to anchor inflatable play structures in a pool.
The most common anchor method is connecting the products horizontally to the pool edges.

Once the combination of play modules has been selected and delivered to the facility, the next steps are set-up and anchoring. Each module is inflated using an electric blower or hand pump. The proper working pressure for each unit is listed on the warning label next to the valve. A manometer is used to check the right pressure.

The inflated products should be lifted into the water by two people. Dragging them over the ground or across the pool deck will damage the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material and the anchor plates which are located on the bottom of each module. Once in the water, the individual modules are assembled using connector straps beneath the water surface. The gap between each module is covered by a safety flap.

There are various ways to anchor inflatable play structures in a pool. Bungees are essential for each method as they give the track or loop (i.e. inflatable play module assembly) stability and keep it in position while absorbing movement caused by guests running, climbing, jumping, and sliding on the modules.

The most common anchor method is connecting the products horizontally to the pool edges. Many pools have mobile or stationary floor loops for swim lane markers which can be used as anchor points. Other stationary objects such as starting blocks or ladders can also be used. In stainless steel pools, or those with large smooth tile surfaces, suction cups can be used as an anchoring method.

Vertical anchoring is also an option for keeping inflatable play structures in position. Some pools already have pre-installed anchoring points embedded in the pool floor. Alternatively, heavy weight floor anchors can be used similarly, but it is important they have an insulation layer at the bottom to make sure the floor of the pool is not damaged. A new way of vertical anchoring is an anchor sack made of PVC material and filled with chain. These anchor sacks can be refilled for each use of the obstacle track and stored in between.

Safety

Safety is the number-one priority when using inflatable play structures in an aquatic facility and a safety distance of 3 m (9.8 ft) or more from each pool edge is crucial to prevent any injuries.

Material, classification, test methods, consumer information, and other specific safety requirements should be considered when buying inflatable play structures.

Annika Paus is the marketing manager at Wibit Sports, a Bocholt, Germany-based manufacturer of inflatable play modules for use in commercial pool facilities. She has been with the company for three years and can be reached via e-mail at annika@wibitsports.com.

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