Dive Stands are a great addition to any facility, but of course have inherent dangers and cost a lot of money to replace. Let’s talk about how you can make your dive stand and spring board as safe as possible, and how to protect your investment!
DON'T SLIP UP
The lifeguard staff should check the surface of the springboard to be sufficiently “non-skid” at the beginning of every shift. This should be done with the board wet, to simulate what it is like when in use. If the board is found to be slippery, it should be taken out of service until the issue is resolved. Nobody want to see anyone hurt or to suffer any legal consequences. The owners, supervisors and lifeguard staff could all potentially share a liability if the board were subsequently shown to be unfit for use.
What is in the Making of a Slip?
There are a few reasons that boards can become slippery:
- Dirt and body oil from swimmers and sunbathers can collect on the surface of the board, making it slippery just because of the nature of the material (oils) or by filling in the ‘voids’ of the textured surface so that it effectively becomes smoother and therefore more slippery.
- Excessive alkalinity or minerals in the water can cause scaling that again renders the textured board smoother, or damages the textured surface.
- Wearing, releasing or damage of the textured surface.
How do I Prevent the Board from Becoming Slippery?
- Hose the board down with fresh water (not pool water) every day. This will help keep the textured surface free of contamination. Never use a high pressure washer for this; you will shorten the life of the texture by blasting away the aggregate.
- Once a month, give the board a good scrubbing wash with a detergent and hot water. This will remove oils and keep the texture in good shape. Always use a soft bristle brush - never stiff.
- If there is a hardness buildup, a muriatic acid solution can be used to dissolve the minerals. Remember to exercise all appropriate safety procedures when using muriatic acid!
The Textured Surface is Gone…Now What?
Take the board out of service. It just isn’t worth the risk of continuing to use it. Most commercial manufacturers offer refinishing of commercial boards. Contact your commercial aquatics provider, and they will help arrange shipping and refinishing of your board so it is like new, and back in tr-action!
The manufacturers use a special epoxy to bond the slip resistant material to the board, and the material itself is designed to reduce surface tension so that water doesn’t stand tall on the board. Don’t try to resurface the board yourself. It won’t be as good as the factory does it, and you accept the liability if there is an accident after you put it back into service.
OK…What Else for the Board?
The rubber channels on the underside of the board must be inspected monthly for signs of wear. If they are getting close to being worn out, they should be replaced BEFORE the metal ridges on the underside of the board come into contact with the fulcrum. If left unchecked, the fulcrum AND the board will be damaged!
That’s Great for the Board, but What About the Stand?
- The best and easiest thing to do is to rinse the entire stand with clean water at the beginning and end of every day. This is especially important for indoor pools. When the stand cools off at night, warm humid air will condense on the stand and handrails, leaving a chlorine residue on the equipment and cause it to degrade prematurely.
- Keep the fulcrum components clean, especially the tracks.
- Keep the roller clamp lock nuts, and anti-rattle lock nuts, snug and adjusted for a "no-rattle" clearance.
- The two grease fittings of the roller block should be lubricated every 2 weeks. Use "Mystic JT-6" grease and grease gun.
- The hinges that hold the board to the stand need 2 drops of oil every 2 weeks. Use lightweight oil as for door hinges.
- The carriage bolts that attach the diving board to the hinges should be checked for tightness periodically. The carriage bolt nuts need to be maintained at 110 lbs of torque (You’ll need a small torque wrench to do it properly).
- Check all handrail and assembly bolts as part of a quarterly preventative maintenance program to keep everything up to snuff.
- The stainless steel components are 304 stainless, which is a good quality material for swimming pool natatoriums, but like all stainless steel is not ‘rust-proof’. If rust does appear:
- Clean it immediately with stainless steel cleaner and a cloth.
- Rinse with lots of fresh water (never pool water).
- Using an anodizing product or even wax as a barrier will help prevent future rust.
- Air quality is critical to the prevention of rust on metal components. Good air handling equipment or the addition of a UV system to the pool go a long way toward improving air quality by reducing airborne chloramines.