Blood Pressure Rising! (long post - bear with me)

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Helen M
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Blood Pressure Rising! (long post - bear with me)

Post by Helen M »

Pool sessions. Sit back and listen to a story ...

Once upon a time we had an ageing swimming pool. It was very apparent that it was coming to the end of it's life. The canoe club managed to hire it occassionally (when it was available - usually 9 -10 on a Monday night). Ok - it was a wee bit late - but those new to the sport and those wishing to perfect their roll or just learn new moves in a safe(ish) environment were happy to part with a few quid.

Then - it was announced that a new swimming pool was being built. Users of the existing pool were consultated. The canoe club sent a representative who duly reported back that all clubs would be welcomed.

Hmmm - great - until said pool was build ... eventually ... 7 months later than planned. So - one of our members spoke to the duty assistant manager about us hiring the pool for a session. No response. So he phoned - no one got back to him. He spoke to another duty manager - no response again .. yawn ............. After numerous attempts he sent an email round to the Club informing them of his lack of response.

Fuunily enough - after that he received a response. It read:

Thank you for your enquiry regarding pool hires at DG one.

I would like to apologise for the delay in contacting you regarding this

Unfortunately we would be unable to accommodate your booking at DG one.
Due to the Deck Level design of the pools at DG One, the risk of
damaging the tiling is too great.

Once again thank you for your enquiry.

Kind regards,

Ashley Smith
Deputy Manager - DG One

So - Why consult regular users and then ignore them? Maybe we could have a 2ft exclusion zone in place for kayaks. What do other clubs do?

Is there a happy ending?

H - x

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Post by Owen »

Get onto your local councilors and the local press; lay in on with a shovel.

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David Martin
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Post by David Martin »

We have a high freeboard (think that's what it's called anyway) and we have to have our boats padded front and back like polo boats. This is for the new folk but there isn't a problem with the more experienced throwing playboats aout as long as we are careful and don't hit the tiles. Also we all have to float the boats before getting in.

Not sure that will be much use but other pools do cope with boats and scuba equipment.
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Re: Blood Pressure Rising! (long post - bear with me)

Post by Mission »

Helen M wrote: Due to the Deck Level design of the pools at DG One, the risk of
damaging the tiling is too great.
This happened with another pool I would use sometimes. Their argument is a load of b*****ks. I used to work in a swimming pool that had no kayak club using it. The tiles break anyway, usually because the guys tiling it put the grout in wrong and the tiles are not supported in sections or because of water destroying grout etc. Kayaks wont break tiles unless they arent fitted properly or you are making a very concerted effort to break them!

Id agree with owen and just get everyone you can lobbying them, especially if they had already told you that the pool would be available to you.

Maybe some compromise might work, suggest a ban on seal launching and using polo boat type bumpers on the pool boats?

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Post by sehenley »

I used to work at a school with its own deck level pool, and ran canoe club sessions in there every week. There was never any problem and we never broke a tile. It sounds like a very poor excuse to me.


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Post by aleeivel »

What utter tosh, we've been using the same pool for years and there is no sign of any damage to tiles... However I do know of pools that have scuba clubs using them and the get lots damage from the tanks getting dropped!!!
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Post by Terryg »

Our club has been using the same pool for the last 25 years.

Every few years they put the running of it out to tender, and a new crowd take over.

One of these company's came out with the same argument a few years back, suggesting that our boats were damaging the tiles, but not managing to come up with any proof to support this.

Most of the company's running the pool have not had any problem with us.

To the best of my knowledge we have not broken any tiles in 25 years.

Point out to these clowns that other clubs use pools without damage, and if necessary, get the local council and press involved.

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Post by TJ_Machin »

We have just had a new pool open in braintree.
For our polo sessions the pool put lane lines along the outside of the pool. about 1ft in from the side. as only the long sides are deck height.
Realisticly this provides no protection of the tiling but it does keep paddlers away from the edge.
For general sessions we have no lane lines as we feel they could hinder exit of the pool in an emergancy.

I suggest you talk to your local bcu rep and enter further discusions with your pool managers.

If that doesn't work then media power helps. New pools don't like negative press.

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Re: Blood Pressure Rising! (long post - bear with me)

Post by waverley610 »

Helen M wrote: Maybe we could have a 2ft exclusion zone in place for kayaks. What do other clubs do?

H - x
Exactly that; When our pool was recently refurbished we were duly sent packing, despite a damage-free record over several years.

Club Chairman contacted literally dozens of alternatives and we eventually ended up in an even better (not so) local authority pool, where several tiles were broken on the first night..!

The solution.. was to put 'lane-ropes' 2ft in, around the perimeter and not seal-launch, this seems to have done the trick.
Good luck with your search.


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Post by jasenjordan »

Unfortunatley swimming pools are not designed for kayaking and there is a greater risk of damage to tiles.
It may not be the desired outcome you wanted but you can also see it from their point especially having spent so much ££££££s.

IMHO Jasen

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Helen M
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Post by Helen M »

Ta all for your input - it's given us food for thought. Dave has also asked if the local diving club are still using the pool! I really can't believe they've been thrown out.

H - x

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Post by George Mcmillan »

At our Club (Kyle Kayak Club Ayr) we have to get in the boat while in the water to try to eliminate the chance of breaking any tiles on entry.
One other option is to apply soft foam to every pointy type kayak to help reduce any impact.
Personally I feel it's up to the coaches to demonstrate to new people to kayaking how bumping into the tiles could seriously damage tiles which in turn could be very expensive for any kayak club to replace.

Whats the worst that can happen?

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Post by John Kennedy »

Jeez, this is basically the exact same thign we're dealing with at our uni swimming pool. The crowd running the pool, and the uni, are both fucking the kayak club over.
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Post by Adrian Cooper »

Our club uses the Gurnell Pool in Ealing under an arrangement negotiated with Chiswick Pier CC. It is a level deck pool and we have been there for at least two years. To my knowledge there has never been a problem with the tiles.

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Post by Bod »

Sidmouth Pool. Deck level. I've been going 8 years and no damage. No problem with seal launch and even reverse seal launch if you are sensible.
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Post by mfflower »

We've a deck level swimming pool at IC - never had any problems with it and whilst they've tried to pin a broken mirror on us and get us to have level 1 coaches at the session I've never seen a broken tile.
I also practice boofing onto the side when I get out of the pool. Maybe I should stop doing that?

I'd suggest getting the local press on board. We can send you a photo of us playing about in a Deck Level pool if it would help - make them look stupid!

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Post by mcneilljamie »


!!!Create an access agreement!!!

I'll go get my coat...

But on a serious note you could draw up the ten commandments of pool kayaking based on the suggestions in this forum (like boat padding, no seal launching etc) and present that to the pool with case studies from other canoe clubs pools before going to the press.

There isnt any point in the pool allowing you access if the pool staff hate you for being there....:S

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Post by kendomat »

You get the same type of grief at Manchester Aquatic Centre, they are always moaning about kayaks.

They too have the deck level design.

It may be worth getting in contact with the management there, to find out how they manage the boats and get the two centres to speak. It is run by Serco.

Although I think the olny reason they let us in, is because it was funded by the Uni, and they are kind of obliged to have us in there since they sold their pools in aid to get the aquatic centre.

I think in general though, kayakas just are not welcomed in a pool environment.. And if they are allowed in, you will be last in the pecking order for time slots.
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Post by RVabdn »

Why is a deck level pool more likely to be damaged than a normal pool?

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Pool Sessions

Post by paddledragger »

This seems to be an ongoing problem (excuse!!) with pools. I tried to access pools in our area for the club I was with (the few pools there are left that is) and consistently came up with the same answer - sorry no due to possible tile damage. When we finally got one to agree I chatted to a member of staff there about this argument to be told and I quote, 'don't be daft, you'd really have to give it some to damage these, we've had canoe clubs in here for years getting up to alsorts and never once had that happen'. So take what you will from that.

Sorry to say the demolition crew for that pool are as we speak removing the rubble from what is left of it right behind my office. We have managed to find an alternative pool since but it was once again like pulling teeth for the same old 'reason'.

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Post by Mission »

Lets face it Kayaks get a bad rep in pools. We leave sand, bits of foam, leaves and dirty water in the pool.
Risk assesments are also more complicated for kayaks because of all the heavy plastic flying around and entrapment issues etc.
Basically tile damage is a reasonably plausible excuse not to let you use the pool. It saves them an awful lot of hassle in the long term. of course divers also create all these problems and more. on top of that they do serious amounts of damage to the tiles! Even worse they break tiles at the bottom of the pool by dropping weight belts etc. For some reason though they are seen as a more acceptable activity.

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Post by Chunda »

S****end Canoe Club have a good working relationship with our pool providers and over the past 20 years I've paddled with the club we've not broken any tiles but the center use our club boats (which are stored there) for kids activities during various school holidays, an informal agreement, and broken / damaged to date 10+ paddles and 4 boats.

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Post by kendomat »

At Manchester Aquatic Centre, I am safe to say that the management there are pure anal about everything canoeing since day one. I went the other week only to find a managaer talking to the now club captain ,saying he was a member of the BCU and they say everyone in pools HAVE to wear helmet.

WE have been blamed for flooding an office and breaking electrical equipnment ( the office is next to a pool, and the stuff was left on the floor in the office, wise)

Band for a time for doing stunt move, not allowed to do things like walking on kayaks, banned from playing polo due to ball hitting roof, not allowed to use a sponge ball, not allowed to slide in from the side (understandable), only allowed 9 people per pool (2x50M).

The one good thing about the uni pool, which does bode well is that the boats are pool only and can be stored at the pool.

Obviously most clubs cannot afford this type of option, nor have the resources to store pool only boats. However this may well be a barganing factor in negotiations if you can!!
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Post by NPearce »

RVabdn wrote:Why is a deck level pool more likely to be damaged than a normal pool?
Its not, in fact I would have said that the opposite is true. A deck level pool encourages the boat to slide over the top of the tiles onto the poolside, which is highly unlikly to break tiles as there is no impact just friction.

Having worked, taught and paddled in 7 pools over 18 years, with a mix of deck and non dek level water I can honestly say I have never encountered a broken tile due to Kayak impact, even with out of control kids, cartwheels meets poolside incidents and other impact intensive bloopers.

What you will probably find is that the perception of 'something hitting my brand new fragile pool tiles' has swayed a decision.


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Post by Jim »

I had this discussion years ago with a friend who is a kayaker and was a leisure centre manager and even as a kayaker he was adamant that he would never allow kayaks into a pool he was responsible for, even though he had no evidence of a kayak ever breaking a tile.

Personally I can't use pools anymore so I never bothered to push the point too far.

The thing is that the person who is responsible for the pool will make a decision, and if they are scared enough of the cost of draining and repairing the pool they won't be budged, there is also the issue of possible personal injury to another user from a broken tile and that is probably an even bigger concern.

Even though it seems to be a load of rubbish!

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Post by rab kirkpatrick »

This pool issue is now in the hands of Leisure and Recreation council staff for further debate. They will be contacting other centres that have deck level pools for guidance and advice on their protocols that are in place for canoe sessions.

Watch this space.

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Post by TomWardill »

Silly question....

What's a deck level pool?
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Post by Admiral Robert »

TomWardill wrote:Silly question....

What's a deck level pool?
As I understand, it's where the water level is pretty much level with the floor. So you don't drop down to get in the water.

I agree that I'd have thought this would make it more suitable for kayaking - but I guess that you don't really have any sort of coping on the edge.

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Post by naefearjustbeer »

this clip shows it you can see the edge of the pool in the bottom righthand corner of the video. I go to 2 different pools one as shown and the other has a drop of about 8-10 inches from the edge of the pool to the water.

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Post by geyrfugl »

One of our local pools (Wolsingham - not a deck level pool) has
its own pool boats, and will rent the pool out for an hour to any
group, with or without any kayaking expertise. There is no
advice or restriction on how kayaks may be used, and they
have local rowdies in for pool parties. No damage seems to have
occurred, even though the (fibreglass) pool edge looks quite
vulnerable. We are allowed to take our own boats in, although
I have not yet had my very pointy-ended sea boat ...

Another local pool (Richmond) used to have pool boats, but a
management policy of not allowing kayaks - not even their own
ones from the store. Bizarre. However, they have now got a
group (Richmond Open Canoe And Kayak club) having regular
pool sessions - so there must have been some major change in
attitude. Perhaps Nigel Wilford (Wilf on UKRGB) might be able
to tell us how this was achieved ?

Barnard Castle pool used to allow kayaks, but now it is difficult,
not because of the potential for tile damage, but because they now require a BCU level 4 coach to be in charge of the session.
As our club forbids coaching (an old insurance hangover which
we may soon see the back of...) we can't comply. But
previously I have had wood/epoxy/fibreglass sea boats with
very pointy ends in that pool and they have hit the tiles with
no damage (and when I say "very pointy", I don't mean a
rounded end a few cm across like a normal sea boat - I mean
less than 1 cm across and very solid epoxy - I've had the end
of the boat rammed into a sea cave wall quite hard and it
suffered no damage, so I would expect a pool tile to come off
worse if it was in any way deficient.)

I think the arguments about pool edge damage are largely
specious and they just don't want the extra hassle of their
lifeguards learning about kayaks, or risking people moving
boats about getting back injuries ... All the pools we use insist
that boats are clean (no sand or leaves) and I have a boat I
reserve entirely for pool use (since I really don't want to have
to spend two hours taking all the bouyancy out of my boat and
cleaning it properly just for one hour's pool time). But when we
have had less-than-perfectly cleaned boats in the pool and the
odd leaf has floated out, we have just picked it out of the pool
and the staff tend not to be at all bothered. There always was
a load of sand in the pool bottom - nothing to do with boats or
paddlers - just trunks which have been used on the beach !

Having said all that, padding the ends of boats (especially
pointy ones) is a really good idea in a crowded pool, especially
if you have people standing in the water coaching - people are
a lot more likely to get damaged than their precious pool !


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