Choosing your Lifeguard Chair

by: Mario Durocher and Alain Chalifoux

A practical and simple guide to help you purchase the right Lifeguard Chair

    For most pool owners, the purchase of a lifeguard chair is not a simple task. As chairs are items that are not purchased often and can be quite costly, it is, therefore, important to study your needs in order to make an intelligent choice. A quality lifeguard chair will serve the needs of a lifeguard for about 50 years. To make this task easier, here are some helpful hints to help you.

From the beginning, three questions must be answered in order to make a sound choice:
1. Number of hours the chair will be used
    Will the chair be used a few weeks out of the year, a few hours a day or fifteen hours a day, all year long? Evaluating the importance of the level of comfort and quality of the chair is key in deciding on the right lifeguard chair and the budget allotted to the purchase of one.

2. Available deck space
    Different lifeguard chairs take up different amounts of space on a pool deck. Of course, a fixed lifeguard chair will take up less space than a moveable one. It is important to remember that a space of 90 cm between the chair and the wall should be available at all times.

3. Budget
    The price of a lifeguard chair can vary between $1600 and $6500. A moveable chair without a platform and castors can cost about $1600. The price of a fixed lifeguard chair can cost anywhere between $2500 and $3900. Moveable chairs with both a platform and casters can cost upwards of $4000 and $6500. Because of this, and before finalizing a budget price, it is important to choose a chair that meets all your needs, making sure that its construction is solid as the life span of a lifeguard chair is about 50 years with about 150 000 hours of use.

Types of Chairs
    There are 2 types of chairs on the market; the fixed chair and the moveable chair. You would most commonly find the fixed chair where available deck space is limited (as this type of chair takes up less space) and there is no need to modify its placement on the deck.

    In the gamut of fixed chairs, you will usually find the ladder at the back. This most demanded model will often have an accompanying moveable chair. Whereas, the elevated side ladder chair offers greater accessibility to its users and, because of its narrower shape, is an ideal alternative when deck space is limited. The fixed OSHA chair is comfortable and very safe, with its large platform and elevated railings.

    The moveable chair is appreciated because (as its name indicates) it is possible to move it around for special activities or when specific surveillance is needed at a precise end of the pool. For example; swimming competitions, free swimming, diving activities etc. By moving the moveable chair around, you can also avoid the sun hitting the lifeguard’s eyes and obstructing their vision.

    There are currently 3 types of moveable chairs on the market. Moveable chairs without castors or a platform are the least comfortable, keeping in mind that the platform and seat generally do not move. They are lighter and therefore less steady. The main appeal is that the cost is rather low. Conventional moveable chairs are usually 6 or 8 feet high, have a platform of about 24” by 42” and ladder treads measuring 24” each. The large platform allows the lifeguard on duty to be able to stand up safely.

    Station chairs are very useful and respond to specific aquatic installation requirements as in water parks, paddling pools, recreational pools or as an extra chair in a standard pool. They are moveable chairs with varying heights between 2 feet 6 inches and 4 feet 6 inches and have a large platform. Paragon manufacturer offers various models called the “Lookout Chair” and “Griff’s Guard Station” series.

Technical Characteristics
    It is equally important to focus on the technical production characteristics when comparing prices with different suppliers.  The stainless steel must be of type 304 or 316 with a 320 grit, or superior, finish  Le diameter of the stainless steel tubes must be 1.90” with a minimum wall thickness of .065”.  The platform can be made of plastic or of wood, provided it is covered with fiberglass  The platform dimension can vary between 18” x 42” and 48” x 42”  The ladder treads must be between 18” and 24” long  The seat height must conform with standard laws  The seat must either swivel on its axel or be firmly fixed, but must also be adjustable to the height of the lifeguard.

    We hope this information will prove helpful in the purchase of your next lifeguard chair. Before making your choice, make sure to ask the important questions, both to the eventual users of this equipment concerning their needs and to the suppliers to know their product details. Remember that all this is worth it because a good lifeguard chair can serve you for 50 years.
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