As an ex travel consultant I've never lost the love of travel and discovering new places. My son uses a wheelchair which lead me to develop a website www.havewheelchairwilltravel.net to share my great discoveries
Published January 18th 2013
Beach wheelchairs give freedom
On a hot sunny day, our coastal beaches draw people to them like a magnet! Have you ever considered how frustrating it would be to be a person in a wheelchair and have to watch from the sidelines?
That doesn't have to be the case anymore for some wheelchair users. Many beaches now have fantastic beach wheelchairs available to use. These wheelchairs often sit unused simply because people don't know about them.
On recent trips to Manly, Bondi and Terrigal beaches we found that each of the Life Saving Clubs has beach wheelchairs available. There is only one chair at each club but we arrived at the busiest time of the day on our visits and had no problem getting one. There is no charge for using them as most have been donated by charities.
The beach wheelchairs are just like a regular wheelchair but with specialised wheels. The chairs do vary from beach to beach but are similar in style. The person using the wheelchair needs to be able to transfer from their own wheelchair to the beach wheelchair and have reasonable sitting ability to use it. The majority of chairs have a lap sash belt. You do need someone to push the chair as the wheelchairs we have used cannot be independently operated.
The wheelchair is easy to push on the sand and in and out of shallow water. The beach chair is able to be taken into the water to a point as they do float but they are not designed for swimming. As the surf is unpredictable I would suggest always staying within the flags and easy reach of the life savers if you plan to take it a little further out to the floating point.
It is a fabulous invention that makes the beach accessible and there is no better feeling in summer than getting down on the sand and feeling the cool salt water of the surf.