New rules help make pools more accessible for disabled

Pool lift at Pepper Geddings Recreation Center in Myrtle Beach.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) - Along the Grand Strand, hundreds of hotels line the coast and most guests expect there to be a pool at the hotel they choose.

Under the new guidelines, a pool under 300 linear feet must provide one means of access that's a sloped entry or a pool lift. For larger pools, there must be two means of access which can be a pool lift, sloped entry, pool stairs, transfer wall or transfer system. Wading pools must have a sloped entry. The new rules apply to new and existing pools.

The City of Myrtle Beach has a lift at Pepper Geddings and Canal Street Recreation Center.

"The idea is to give people who happen to have a disability access the programs, the services, the equipment the buildings that everybody else can access. Just because they have a disability, it doesn't mean they aren't entitled to do all the things other folks may do too," says City of Myrtle Beach Spokesman Mark Kruea.

Other rules that are in place relate to the miniature golf industry. On new courses half of all holes must be accessible.

The deadline for the changes to be complete is March 15, 2012. As for enforcement, it is federal law. Health officials and individuals can file complaints.

The Department of Justice enforces rules set under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It was first passed in 1990.