New Law Requires Commercial Pools to Be Handicap Accessible

Wheelchair Accessible Pool Lift

The federal government passed a law in April 2011 under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that would require commercial pool owners to make their pools accessible to persons with disabilities. The new regulations apply to newly constructed commercial pools and existing structures, but not residential pools. Owners of existing pools have a year from the April 2011 date to bring their pools into compliance. At an average cost of about $7,000, the new law will cost commercial pool owners thousands of dollars.

Under the new law, large pools with more than 300 linear feet of pool wall must have at least two accessible entryways. The primary entryway must be a pool lift that a person with a disability can independently operate or a sloped entry into the water. The secondary entryway can be a lift, transfer wall or system, sloped entry or pool stairs. The two entryways provided should be different types and situated on different pool walls. Pools with less than 300 linear feet of pool wall only require one accessible entryway that must be either a sloped entry or pool lift.

Many commercial pool owners have yet to comply with the new rule simply because they are not aware of it. In Panama City Beach, Florida alone, an estimated 3,000 commercial pools are currently inaccessible to persons with disabilities. Edgewater Beach Resort, however, is one commercial pool that is way ahead of the new law.

Michelle Lacewell, Edgewater Beach Resort Marketing Director, explained, “We’ve had the chair for 15 years, we knew the importance about being accessible to the pool water while they’re here to enjoy their stay.”

One resident who couldn’t be more pleased with the new law is resident Ed Thomasson. “As far as I’m concerned, anyone that’s handicapped ought to have the ability to get in the water,” he said.

The resort’s early forward-thinking pleases Thomasson, who says it feels good to know that the establishment considers the needs of people like him.

“You have handicapped people all the time,” stated Thomasson. “If they know they can get in the water, they do. It’s amazing how many people use that chair. It’s a wonderful thing.”


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9 thoughts on “New Law Requires Commercial Pools to Be Handicap Accessible


    THANK YOU –WONDERFUL NEW LAW–i am in a wheel chair-moved to a 55 plus community (the villages fl.) and unable to even get into the pool area because the gate lock is to high and to difficult to operate—–any thoughts on this problem or solutions???


    well this is stupid. i am not against having a lift or wade pool. but now the pool is closing in our town of 3000 people because it cant afford to renovate or pay the fine if imposed. what are the kids going to do all summer? what new things are going to be destroyed because they dont have the pool to go to. no summer jobs for the senior kids also. this law should only be for certain sized towns and new construction.


      Larry, you have no idea what it means to have to live your life imprisioned in your own body, paralyzed & needing help with just about everything. You need a serious dose of reality! Why should only able-bodied people be allowed to swim??? You’re statements are ignorant & disrespectful!!! Oh and absolutely ridiculous (that’s how to properly spell RIDICULOUS btw). Why do you hate the disabled community?

      Julie, I applaud your mom for having an ADA room & an elevator & am sorry she is losing money on her investment. Maybe your mom should just close the pool & won’t have to make the investment in the accessible lift. Then she won’t lose everything. Just a thought.

  3.'Larry Gardner

    Wow ! I”m tired of catering to the minority!! Two handicap people cant get into a pool , so now 4 public pools are closing down in our county because they can”t afford this new law!!! Pools don”t make money anyways!!! This is crap!!! The government needs taken over!!! We are falling apart and all they can worry about is some villages pool!!! New pools only!! If you want to make a law!! This is rediculous !!


    What about those who will now have to close their pool to guests? And then be forced into shutting down from lack of business? My mom turned her house into a bed and breakfast, she has 9 rooms, not even enough in Idaho to be required to have a ADA room! Yet she has one anyways, and she added an elevator for access to it. She does not even make enough money to break even yearly and now she has to come up with $7k for a chair lift in the pool? this will close her down. In the 6 yrs she has been open we have not once had someone in a wheelchair even need the ADA room and elevator let alone the pool!!! We live in a town of 3k, we are not a resort town or even a tourist town!!! We are not full all the time, and are almost empty the entire winter, who wants to travel here when there is 10ft of snow? Our pool is open 3 months a yr because of weather, now she is going to lose everything. Not like i am prejudice here, my husband has one leg!!!!


    This law is ridiculous, because it forces the shutdown of public pools that most people benefit from. I think the idea is good, but should apply only to new construction. I’d hate to be in a town that’ll now have no pool! And there are lots of such towns in the country.

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