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An accessible beach should provide easier access to the beach for people with disabilities so that anyone can enjoy the beach. There are an increasing amount of beaches in Australia that are becoming accessible for people with disabilities. These beaches have some key features that make them more accessible and encourage people with disabilities to go to the beach which include accessible facilities, transport and infrastructure.
Apart from people with disabilities being in a position to enjoy the beach access, they should be able to get to the beach and water with ease. This article presents a guide to accessible beaches in Australia with special attention to the elements that make a beach accessible.
Several beaches in Australia offer wheelchair rental or free services to make them accessible. The wheelchairs they offer are special as they allow the user to navigate the dry or wet sand of the beach with ease. These beach accessible wheelchairs such as the Mobi-chair and Sandcruiser enable people with disabilities to have improved access to the beach. Mobi-chairs float on water which supports people using it in the water. Some of the wheelchairs are suitable for small kids while others are more suitable for adults and teenagers which means that a variety of ages and people can use these wheelchairs.
A key feature of accessible beaches is accessible facilities and buildings that provide people with disabilities the ability to access and use facilities by the beach. These facilities can include bathrooms, showers and changing rooms. Facilities need to have an accessible entry which can include the use of ramps and larger doorways. Additionally, surrounding buildings and businesses should aim to have accessible entryways and facilities for people with disabilities.
Wide Walkaways and a Ramp Matting
An accessible beach should have wide walkways for easy navigation and mobility for people with disabilities. Some of these beaches have ramps to get into the Ocean Pools that means that it’s easier for you to get into the water. Other beaches use mats that are rolled onto the sand which make an excellent pathway that enables a person with a disability to take their personal wheelchair down to the water.
Transport Infrastructure and Parking
Accessible infrastructure and transportation are key features in ensuring beaches are accessible and easy to get to for people with disabilities. This includes public transportation such as buses, trains and ferries that have ramps to provide easier access for people with disabilities. Accessible parking spots are an important feature of accessible beaches that means that people with disabilities are able to use their own transportation to get to the beach. These parking spots also improve the ease of getting to and from the beach as they are usually closer to the entry to the beach.
Examples of Accessible Beaches in Australia
Williamstown Beach in Melbourne has matting that extends from the surf club all the way to the edge of the water during summer months. They also offer the use of a beach accessible wheelchair free of charge. Other facilities you will find here include accessible showers, change facilities, shower seats, stand-alone accessible toilet, accessible parking, height adjusted hand-held shower and a changing bench.
Altona Beach has matting available seven days a week during the summer period that provides people in wheelchairs with easier access to the water and improves mobility at the beach. This beach also offers the use of a beach accessible wheelchair free of charge. However, these are only available on the weekends during surf life saving patrol hours. The beach also has accessible facilities including parking, toilets and showers.
The Gold Coast’s Southport Broadwater Parklands has permanent beach matting that extends to the hard sand and has a landing section that is covered. The Parklands also has a liberty swing that can be used by anyone and a water playground. The Parklands have a large variety of barbeque and picnic areas that are available to use.
Collaroy Beach has a large number of accessible facilities and an inclusive playground. The playground has a liberty swing and play equipment that is inclusive which means that any child is able to play there. There are large disabled bathrooms that have both showers and toilets that are available to use. The Collaroy Ocean Pool has a ramp that provides people with disabilities with easier access to the pool.
There has been an increase in the accessibility of beaches in Australia to improve access to the beach for people with disabilities. Some of the features of accessible beaches include accessible parking, facilities including bathrooms and matting that extends to the hard sand. By having these features, people with disabilities are able to go to the beach and enjoy their time at the beach. The number of accessible beaches is growing as councils aim to improve the ability and ease of access for people with disabilities to go to the beach. It’s important to conduct some research before you go to any beach to check when the facility such as the matting is available to use. So if you want to go to the beach why not visit one of these accessible beaches?