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I am at the start of a project to try and create a dive park at Lake Lanier Gerogia. I would love to include facilities for divers with disabilities. This would be a public acccess facility not private owned. What would have to be included in the plans to be sure divers with disabilities could have use of the facility?
Lots of ramps, portajohns for the disabled if not installing regular bathrooms, some kind of ramp into the water with a backless chair that could be used to steady divers and float them into the water with gear or a lift with a bosun's type chair that can be used to get them out. If this I'd like to see a submerged platform say 2-4 feet under water where they could gear up either alone( not really alone but they would be able to sit and put their bc on with a buddy present and not have to stand or jump or be lifted or tossed( yeah that's one way in) into the water) or with assistance after getting in the water. Also no gravel paths if possible. It sucks getting a chair around on gravel anywhere. Either paved or wooden walkways. This would be a start.
Divers with disabilities are just divers. The only change is access to the water.
Jimlap has done a good job of laying out what is needed. One note:
Originally Posted by JimLap
...with a backless chair ....
Since many individuals with paralysis lack abdominal muscle control, a back on the chair would be required, but it could have a slot to accept the tank yet still offer back support. Since this is a public park you could make a cable and anchor one end in the water deep enough to have a 5 foot tall person chest to shoulder deep in the water the other end on land. Then have the cable play through a loop on a cable attached to the chair (Think dog run here.). That would prevent the chair from wondering off from mischievous children playing with it as it could only go back and forth into the water.The alternative is of course the lift chair off a dock type structure. A regular beach chair would work as the dive partner could bring the gear out to the water for an in-water gear up.
Ramps not more than 1:12 slope (1 foot of drop/rise for 12 feet of run)ADA Accessibility Guidelines into the water. A water chair (usually made of PVC Pipe and weighted so it does not float) and of course is a toilet facility is available it should be handicapped accessible. Parking spaces for VANS with their 98" side space.
Not handicapped related, but In water you may want to lay cables or chains in a grid pattern like they did at Edmunsons in Washington State. This allows all to easily navigate the park. Add some structure items for blind divers to feel would be nice too.
The challenge here of course is getting the government entity that owns the area/park to allow you to do the project. ADA would require them to make it ADA accessible and will lay out the requirements.
Edmunds in Edmunds Washington http://www.shorediving.com/Earth/USA.../Edmunds_Park/ is a good model of how this can be done inexpensively. Cost to the local government was minimal as local volunteers have spent years building it as their weekend dive. it was a great dive when I was there. Chains and cables laid out in a grid with metal signs with the "street" name cut out of them placed where necessary so you knew where you were. Alternative, in Germany in the park they have things laid out in a orderly pattern of squares. At the corner of the square they have a monument with the numbers of the squares that meet there on it.
I would add a few items to what's been mentioned so far:
1. An accessible land based staging area, perhaps a large concrete pad with tables for people to set up and break down gear, with plenty of room for wheelchair navigation
2. A shaded area. Depending on the disability of a diver, thermo regulation can be a huge concern and shelter from the heat should not be overlooked
3. An accessible potable water supply, be it a drinking fountain, or good old fashioned pump.
Is there a google map you can direct us to that would allow us to see the area you have in mind for accessible diving?
hmm agree with a lot of what has been said here already as with regards to ramps and slopes and shallow gearing up area etc.
Some disabled divers would also apreciate a private and accessible area to get geared up. I dived with a guy who had muscular dystrophy who had no control of his bladder and bowel functions - privacy is essential for these folk. The disabled toilet may not be enough - getting this guy into just his wetsuit took three people and - um - well it was quite a messy experience....