It all started with a simple question. The recent expansion of the Americans with Disabilities Act included mandates to provide, in all newly constructed or renovated swimming pools, means of access for those who previously had none.
Over a decade since the law’s expansion went into effect, it’s difficult to overemphasize how profound its impact. Yes, this was ultimately about access, but unlike bathrooms or showers or doorways—each rooted in necessity—here was something else completely different. This was about enjoyment. It’s the difference between have to and get to: You have to use the bathroom. You get to use the pool.
But for all the opportunities the ADA expansion would provide, something was missing. “Often, the accommodations provided merely get us in the door,” said Kristy Durso, Ms. Wheelchair Texas 2022 and owner of Incredible Memories Travel, a travel agency focused on special needs travel. “They don’t allow us to be full participants. We have as many likes, dislikes, opinions, goals, and dreams as anyone else. We want to have varied experiences as opposed to just being a spectator.”
The now-ubiquitous pool lifts, the sloped entries, ramps, and transfer walls were an invitation for individuals with disabilities to get in the water, which leads back to the question that started it all . . .
Access was limited to merely that, with nothing beyond. Free from their wheelchair, yet immersed in a conditional environment where an individual’s options were either cling to the pool edge or possibly a caregiver; not the sort of choices conducive to relaxation or enjoyment in a setting intended for those very things.
As this relates to luxury hotel properties, where that little extra is often the signifier of what luxury stands for, the EdgeMate Pool Chair completes the process. The access is already present. With EdgeMate, meaningful involvement for the accessible traveler becomes reality and with that comes memorable guest experiences. “My EdgeMate Pool Chair has been a total game-changer for me over the years,” said Rachelle Chapman, EdgeMate Brand Ambassador, and early product adopter. “I love the water but have always had to hang onto whoever I was with in the pool. But with EdgeMate, I’m able to relax independently and be comfortable. Hanging out in the pool had been so difficult after my accident, but now it’s so effortless.”
The addition of EdgeMate Pool Chairs to a property’s aquatic operation is not an either-or proposition. With its undeniable crossover appeal to all guests, EdgeMate can not only satisfy the accessible traveler, but also the property looking to quickly add desirable seating on high traffic days. Thanks to EdgeMate’s custom cup holder, staff can keep their guests happy and hydrated in this one-of-a-kind IN-pool seating experience.
In terms of both versatility and application, the EdgeMate Pool Chair checks a lot of boxes. That said, it does not fit into one specifically defined box. It’s not poolside seating; the user sits in the pool. And while it was inspired by individuals with disabilities, it does not qualify as an adaptive device. So, with that in mind, we came up with our own term: Inclusion Equipment.
In the pool everybody, every body, has the ability to exist in a degree of buoyancy. Sitting in EdgeMate Pool Chairs, individuals can get out of and leave behind whatever remains on the pool deck, and for a few minutes or a few hours, be free and equal with each other. It is in these precious moments of involvement where enjoyment can lead to growth. To that point, EdgeMate Accessibility Advocate Krista Allison had this to say about her first time using the EdgeMate Pool Chair: “I got in the water and felt free.”
While opportunities for the accessible traveler continue to grow, there is still much to accomplish in terms of education and awareness. As our hotel/resort partners continue to offer designated access into the pool for their guests with disabilities, we at EdgeMate want to do our part and take care of the enjoyment.
As part of our Inclusion Initiative, we will supply, at each pool access point, an EdgeMate Pool Chair fitted with custom labeling that indicates exclusive use for accessible travelers.
Our Ultimate Goal: Wherever there is access, there is EdgeMate.
- Arrives fully assembled
- Compatible with most in-ground pools
- Requires no alterations to the pool or pool deck
- Designed and tested to hold swimmers of any size
- Folds flat for easy transport and storage
- Weighs only 4.4 lbs.
- Features a 20.5″ x 16″ seat
Katie Rychener is the Marketing Director at EdgeMate Pool Chair. Her goal is to create relationships with luxury hotel brands that seek to maximize the guest experience around one of their most sought-after assets . . . the swimming pool. She has an extensive background in marketing and education, along with a passion for aquatics. These loves merged when she joined Team EdgeMate.
About EdgeMate Pool Chair
The EdgeMate Pool Chair is one-of-a-kind IN-pool seating for hotels and resorts. Guests will appreciate the exciting new dimension in pool enjoyment as properties utilize this versatile, amenity at their pool facilities. Accessories include a custom cup holder and 12-chair mobile storage rack, making this complete package a must-have for any venue looking to enhance the guest experience for everyone. Visit edgematepoolchair.com to learn more.