Accessibility

  • Changing room on the beach for people with reduced mobility
  • Poster that indicates the assisted bathing area for people with disabilities
  • Group of people with reduced mobility using chairs adapted for swimming at the beach

Accessibility Model

Accessible beaches make it easier for all beachgoers to reach and enjoy them, especially for those that have physical handicaps of some kind. These specific beachgoers have special reserved parking spaces with easy access routes to the sand as well as signs and both visual and tactile information points, toilets that have been adapted for the handicapped along with wooden boardwalks that reach all the way to the water line and showers that come equipped with stationary chairs. 

All the city’s beaches offer services to accompany swimmers and beachgoers during the leisure time they spend at the city’s waterfront. The goal is to guarantee the safety and quality of public spaces and facilitate the coming together of all those who use Barcelona’s waterfront.

Accessibility Model for Barcelona's beaches

We understand accessibility to be an integral part of the design and configuration of any public space in the city. Therefore, making the beaches more accessible not only includes creating specific access points that are designated for those who have certain physical handicaps but also becomes a defining characteristic in the planning of all the beaches, integrated into the global nature of the setting and its interactions.

It is on the basis of this general accessibility that a specific swimmer assistance service has been developed for those people who have a handicap and need help entering and exiting the water.  

Two modalities have been established::

  • Accessible beaches facilitate the ability of all users to access and enjoy them and, especially, those who have some kind of handicap. There are designated parking spaces with access routes that lead to the dry sand, both visual and tactile signs and information points, handicapped restrooms, adapted showers with chairs and wooden footbridges that reach the water as close as possible, although, under no circumstances will they ever touch the water, as its currents could detach the module. There is also public transportation that has been adapted for the handicapped that facilitates access to the beach. This option is available for all of the city’s beaches. 
  • Accessible beaches with a swimmer assistance service, ,  is directed towards those people who have a handicap and need personal and specialized help in order to be able to enter the water. They also have access to, above and beyond the aforementioned options, a changing room, amphibian wheelchairs, lifting cranes, life jackets and beach parasols.This second option has been implemented for the Nova Icària and Barceloneta beaches when high season begins.

Swimmer assistance service for the handicapped

The user guidelines define this service as swimmer assistance for those handicapped beachgoers that cannot reach the water on their own. This assistance is offered by personnel that help them enter and exit the water and accompany them, if necessary, during their swim time using different support equipment that is adapted to the surroundings and the different types of activities being offered.

Timetable and service hours

Access to the swimmers assistance service for those who are handicapped does not require any special kind of prior request or application.

The service hours are:
- during the month of June: weekends and holidays
- from the 1st of July to the 15th of September: every day of the week
- the second half of September: weekends and holidays

Public service hours:
- Barceloneta beach: mornings from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
- Nova Icària beach: mornings from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and afternoons from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
- Fòrum Swimming area: mornings 11:00 am to 2:00 pm

In June of 2015 there will be 14 free public use nets available at the following beaches:Sant Sebastià, Barceloneta, Somorrostro (4), Icària (4), Bogatell (2), Marbella i Nova Marbella. Bogatell beach is also equipped with a court that has Korfball nets.

What services are included?

Currently, there are four amphibious wheelchairs, amphibious crutches, an electric crane and wheelchairs available at the Espai de Mar (Sea Space) in Barceloneta beach. The Nova Icària beach has a pergola that acts as a sunshade in the rest area. Besides the wooden boardwalks that reach all the way to the water, handicapped beachgoers will have access to reserved parking spaces that have access routes to the sand, visual and tactile signs and information points, handicapped restrooms, showers with chairs and handicap-adapted public transportation lines. The Bogatell beach has a Korfball court and baskets. The beaches have 14 volleyball nets that can be used by the public at the beaches:Sant Sebastià, Barceloneta, Somorrostro (4), Icària (4), Bogatell (2), Marbella i Nova Marbella. 

Partners involved 

Those who participate in the design and development of the swimmers assistance service include:

  • Urban Environment and Services Division. Integral Management of the Coastline Program, which is in charge of the management and coordination of the beaches.
  • Municipal Institute for the Handicapped, which gives specialized and technical assistance to the different partners involved and also coordinate the Work Group dedicated to this project.
  • Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, which carries out the installation and maintenance of the wooden boardwalks as well as providing the materials.
  • First Aid and Rescue Service, which is an entity that manages rescue and lifeguarding services by specialized personnel and volunteers.

One of the defining characteristics of this project is the fact that, from the moment of its inception until now, the handicapped collective, which is represented by the committees for the handicapped in the AVV Barceloneta neighborhood association and the AVV Sant Martí neighborhood association, has been actively involved.

Areas dedicated to swimmers assistance

Barceloneta Beach

This swimmers assistance access point is located next to the facility known as the Sea Space. It is manned by a trained professional and assisting volunteers along with the following infrastructure:

  • Reserved parking spaces along the coastline boardwalk
  • Handicapped access routes that reach the sand
  • Wooden boardwalks that reach the water with a roll-up portion at the end
  • Platform of wooden boardwalks that beachgoers can use
  • Handicapped showers on the sand
  • Handicapped lockers, showers, changing rooms and restrooms, located in the Sea Space
  • A lifting crane, two amphibian wheelchairs, floating devices and beach parasols
  • A trained professional that manages the access point and the assisting volunteers
     

Nova Icària Beach 

This swimmers assistance area has a trained professional, who manages the access point and the assisting volunteers, and this beach comes with the following infrastructure:

  • Reserved parking spaces along the coastline boardwalk
  • Handicapped access routes that reach the sand
  • Wooden boardwalks that reach the water with a roll-up portion at the end
  • Platform of wooden boardwalks that beachgoers can use
  • Handicapped showers on the sand
  • One changing room module and a portable lavatory for the handicapped
  • A lifting crane, two amphibian wheelchairs, life jackets, floating devices and beach parasols
  • A pergola that acts as a sun shade in the rest area of the beach

Fòrum swimming area 

The special characteristics that define this area make it possible for the swimmers assistance service that is offered at this access point to have some special features that the other beaches do not have. All of the personnel on staff are trained professionals. The characteristics of this space make it necessary to enter the water vertically in order to be able to access the water. The water can be accessed using a hydraulic crane. The existing infrastructure includes:

  • Lounge chairs that are available to the public free of charge. The entire swimming area is cement pavement. The lounge chairs make sunbathing more comfortable.
  • Different equipment for the handicapped: changing rooms, restrooms and showers.
  • There is a shaded area that can be used by all the swimmers.
  • Those who possess a handicapped parking permit can reach the closest point to the swimming area.

Accessibility Model

Accessible beaches make it easier for all beachgoers to reach and enjoy them, especially for those that have physical handicaps of some kind. These specific beachgoers have special reserved parking spaces with easy access routes to the sand as well as signs and both visual and tactile information points, toilets that have been adapted for the handicapped along with wooden boardwalks that reach all the way to the water line and showers that come equipped with stationary chairs. 

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