Ocean pools have for several centuries served to attract visitors to particular stretches of recreational surf coasts.
In the nineteenth century, some surfside communities in Britain, Ireland, the Cape Colony and the Australian colonies viewed ocean pools as desirable, if not always affordable, developments offering safe bathing, beauty spots, visitor attractions and sometimes serving as sporting venues. In the Australian colony of New South Wales, tourist literature and promotions often made reference to ocean pools.
On the coast of early twentieth-century New South Wales, ocean pools became desirable and affordable developments offering safe bathing, beauty spots, a visitor attractions and valued sporting venues. Twentieth century tourist literature and promotions often made reference to ocean pools. Ocean pools were, however, no longer automatically considered affordable, beautiful or visitor attractions even on the New South Wales coast by the 1960s. Twenty-first century tourist literature and promotions continues nevertheless, to feature ocean pools. Heritage listing has further enhanced the visitor appeal of some ocean pools.
In present-day South Africa, where most of the population still lacks swimming skills and remains concerned about the risk of shark attacks, ocean pools add to the appeal of surf beaches.