Five beaches in Sarasota, Florida are now offering floating wheelchairs so users can get out and enjoy the water.
Beach wheelchairs have been a popular item already providing a method for people to get around on the sandy beaches that are difficult to traverse with regular wheelchairs, but they are not meant to go in the water. The new floating wheelchairs add a new dimension to the experience of Sarasota’s white sandy beaches.
With bright orange floaters on the sides, the floating wheelchairs lean back into a reclining position once in the water. They also feature large wheels that make it possible to move through deep sand.
There are 10 new floating wheelchairs being used starting today at 5 area beaches – Siesta, Nokomis, Lido, Venice, and Manasota. Each beach will have at l floating wheelchair.
One person that has already tried out the floating wheelchairs, Ann Olson, was elated to be in the water again after 12 years of being in a wheelchair due to multiple scleroris.
“The wheelchair restricts where I can go and what I can do,” she said. “It was such a great opportunity. The water was nice and cool.”
Already patrons note that the beach wheelchairs are often in use, so they expect that the floating wheelchairs will be quite popular.
Although not meant to be used in heavy waves or independently, the floating wheelchairs are generally safe and provide a comfortable ride according to Andrea King, the program coordinator with Sarasota County Parks and Recreation.
“They’re more like a recliner or a lounge chair,” said King. “Your legs are out in front of you. It’s much more comfortable.”
The Mobi-Chairs cost the county about $2,400 each and will be great for those seeking wheelchair accessible vacations on the beaches of Sarasota, Florida.