Aquatic Play Structures

The safety of blobs and other inflated catapult devices has much to do with understanding the risks associated with them.

Typical risks:

  • Injuries from awkward impact with the bladder or the water from a height.

  • Falls from a fixed tower onto the deck.

  • Bouncing back into a fixed tower after jumping.

  • Participants caught between the shell and the bladder when the shell is torn.

  • Electrical shock if electric air pumps are used for inflation.

  • Injury or drowning from unauthorized or poorly supervised use.

Safety considerations during installation (always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines)

  • Water depth.

  • Distance from other objects – safe landing zone.

  • Anchor lines – should be vertical or angled underneath the float.

  • Tower height.

  • Platform overlap with blob or other inflated device.

  • Tower plans and construction – must be professionally designed, approved and inspected by engineers/architects.

Safety check items

  • Inflation.

  • Integrity of the shell – no tears in the lining.

  • Anchor fastenings.

  • Ladder and platform stability.

Safety considerations in conducting the activity

  • Rules and procedures are explained to participants prior to the activity.

  • All participants must be able to swim.

  • All participants should wear approved life jackets.

  • Buddies should be approximately the same weight (within 25 pounds).

  • Jumping is done from a standing position – no running jumps.

  • Jumpers should land bottom first.

  • Those bounced from the blob or other inflated device should try to land feet first. No flips or other gymnastic moves are allowed.

  • Staff members overseeing the activity should be lifeguard certified. One staff member should be positioned by the platform and another positioned off the end of the blob or other inflated device.

  • Safety equipment to include backboard, rescue tube, reach pole and a medical kit.

  • The above list is for guidance and will need adaptation to local situations.

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