Ocean pools provide physical safety for bathers and swimmers and can confer other benefits related to physical and mental health. Governments, sporting organisations and other non-government bodies have, however, remained reluctant to treat ocean pools as a class of public pools with any significance beyond aquatic sport and recreation.
Protection from sharks and rips
As durable and resilient beach safety measures, ocean pools have significance for swimming, surf lifesaving, surf and beach cultures.
On any surfcoast, ocean pools provide valued protection from the rips.
On surfcoasts with shark-inhabited coastal waters, ocean pools also provide valued protection from large sharks. Only smaller sharks, unlikely to pose any threat to human life are likely to be washed into an ocean pool.
Unlike shark mesh, ocean pools are:
- fixed in position,
- offer beachgoers ongoing protection from both sharks and rips,and
- do not harm sharks or other forms of marine life.
Ocean pools continue to offer protection from sharks and rips at times when nearby beaches are not patrolled by either volunteer surf lifesavers or professional lifeguards.
Kind-to-the skin seawater rather than chlorinated water
Many people with sensitive skin prefer to swim in seawater than in pools with chlorinated water.
Some people use ocean pools as hydrotherapy pools and feel that the buoyant salt water aids their recovery from illness or injury.
Ocean pools offer a sense of prospect and refuge, a sense of being in a fascinating place far removed from the mundane world that many ocean pool enthusiasts find restorative. The mental health benefits associated with use of ocean pools merit further investigation.