The Mediterranean will be more accessible this summer across Europe, giving beachgoers with mobility concerns more chances to swim without having to worry about navigating the sand. More than 200 Seatrac chairs will be placed at beaches in Greece and a few surrounding nations, including Italy and Cyprus, beginning in May to make it easier for tourists to access the sea.
A wooden path connects each location’s solar-powered chair to a single track. Users get into the recliner and use a remote control that they can rent at the beach or have sent to their hotel in advance to “drive” into the sea.
Once in the water, they can get up from the chair to go swimming before getting back in it to travel to the docking station.
They can avoid the sand, which can be dangerous for those who use wheelchairs, canes, walkers, or who are unsteady on their feet. They can also enjoy the sea on their own initiative without the need for further help.
The “Seatrac” offers more than just free access to the ocean. Ignatios Fotiou, one of the Greek developers of the ground-breaking beach equipment, said that it gives persons with mobility challenges who wish to enjoy swimming respect and independence. They don’t have to go where they’re told, and they can ask their buddies to go with them.
Nine of the portable chairs were unveiled in 2012 at various Greek beaches by a company by the name of TOBEA. The business set up 180 devices in Greece last year, in addition to a number of others in Cyprus, Italy, and Latvia. It intends to run more than 220 of them this summer from around May through October, which is high beach season. The free service had “more than 40,000 uses in 2022,” according to Fotiou, the CEO of TOBEA in Greece. “The thousands of smiles of people who can go swimming on their own” is the direct effect.
The European Regional Development Fund and national government organisations jointly supported the programme in Greece. The majority of the equipment is purchased by municipalities and beach owners. The amenity has also been added to a few bars and beach resorts. “More beaches throughout Greece are opening up to accommodate tourists with mobility issues. There are many accessibility options available to satisfy their needs, even if there are frequently customised requirements for persons with disabilities, according to wheelchair user and inclusion expert Jenny Leivadarou of Greece. The chairs have been thoroughly tested and have helped this purpose.