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What is a Beach Wheelchair?

By Tara Barnett
Updated May 17, 2024
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A beach wheelchair is a wheelchair designed to function on sand. Normally, wheelchairs have thin wheels that do not function well on soft terrains. Beach wheelchairs are designed specifically to work on loose terrain such as soft sand and include large wheels. Often, these wheelchairs are designed to maximize fun at the beach for handicapped people and may include features such as attached sun umbrellas and fishing pole holders and may even have the ability to float. Most people find that it is not necessary to own a beach wheelchair given how rarely most people go to the beach, so it is relatively easy to rent a beach wheelchair at most major beach destinations.

Beach wheelchairs are firstly defined by the ease with which they navigate loose terrain like sand. They usually have large, wide wheels that spread the weight of the chair out over more area, allowing the chair to roll on top of the sand rather than cutting into it. Beach sand is the most common terrain navigated by these devices, but they may also be useful in areas covered in gravel or soft grass.

Given the size of the wheels, it is impractical to grip the wheels of these chairs in order to move them. A beach wheelchair is usually either motorized or designed to be pushed like a stroller. Many people want the independence offered by a motorized beach wheelchair, but stroller chairs also have advantages. For instance, stroller wheelchairs may be equipped to float and may even be made at home. Children with motorized wheelchairs must be watched vigilantly near water if there is any chance that waves could sweep the child away.

Extra features included on a beach wheelchair may make these chairs desirable even for people without disabilities. Drink holders, umbrellas, and even places for fishing poles may be included in the chair's design. Some people require certain features to use the chair, such as chest straps or headrests, and these are almost always available at rental agencies or stores that sell this type of device.

There are certain problems with beach wheelchairs, although these can usually be overcome. Getting the wheelchair itself onto the beach can be difficult if there is a long path to the beach. Usually, accommodations can be made in order to get the wheelchair onto the beach, although it may not be possible to access the beach by a footpath. Places where cars can drive directly onto the beach may be most convenient for beach wheelchairs because these locations will have ample room for wheelchairs. If accessibility is a major problem, it may be a good idea to talk to a disability advocacy group about possible alternatives or solutions.

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Discussion Comments
By anon189817 — On Jun 24, 2011

there are tons of great choices,but while there are numerous beach wheelchairs out there, make sure to do strenuous research, because the beach wheelchair that you choose will be a great life-changer, and give you lots of freedom over being pushed around. make sure to choose wisely because it's your happiness that matters. while you only move at one speed -- full throttle -- it's your speed!

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