Submergency (lifeguards chair) with FM transmitter

Pink Ladies

Pink Ladies

As reported on the BBC, on Sunday the 17th of June a beauty spot on Dartmoor was turned into a ‘pop-up lido’ for a group of Devon’s hardy wild swimmers – it marked the launch of a new automatic and portable lifeguard’s chair for use by rivers and seas. Made of steel and aluminium the chair marks a turning point in self-surveillance and safety equipment for those that love their outdoors wet. Helpfully the chair narrowcasts safety information and relaxing whale song to pool side loungers through a localised FM transmitter. People interested in commissioning one should contact ruralrecreation (*see note).

About seventy people came to take part, setting up chairs and towels around the ‘pool’, swimming, picnicking and listening to helpful information on swimming techniques, flood prevention and even the spiralling trill of the Bearded Seal to people on the radio. The underwater sounds connect the remote and mysterious Crazywell Pool to the sea miles away at Plymouth (legends have it that the waters of the pool rise and fall with the tides).

The project is a tribute to the hundreds of thousands of people in Devon returning to ‘wild water’ [1] as our swimming pools are threatened by austerity measures. The project also aims to get more people interested in conserving our marine and river wildlife. Click on the video above to watch our short film and hear the story of the sedated shrimp. Click on the image below for the BBC report on the project.

BBC coverage

Click picture for BBC coverage

The chair was also on show to the public in the grounds of Dartington Hall, Totnes during the Aune Head Arts conference “The Home and the World” conference from 19th to the 21st of June 2012. Read the presentation given, The impossible gaze of the ecological subject

Its also well worth checking out the fabulous Prt Scr Press instruction manual for Submergency by Nick Davies here No.2-Rural Recreation.


[1] 12.35% of UK’s population (approximately 5.95million nationally and 511,000 in Devon) participated in outdoor swimming according to the Watersports and Leisure Participation Survey, British Marine Federation, Maritime & Coastguard Agency, Royal Yachting Association, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (2006)

*Please note before you set out with your chair:

1)     The erection of the Chair(s) implies that swimming can take place under supervision in the water, and unless access the chair(s) is restricted they might also be capable of being used by members of the public (including children) in ways that cause them injury or worse. This could give rise to both civil and criminal liability.

2)     Restrictions to the Countryside Right of Way Act (S2) mean that it is illegal to swim in any non-tidal water on any land designated Access Land.

3)     On private land the Occupier of the Land in which you swim is primarily liable for damage caused to members of the public on the land. As such if you ask for their permission to have a lifeguards chair (even with warning signs) they are unlikely to grant it.

4)     Should it be granted we recommend posting large notices saying climbing on the structure is forbidden – this will also require the permission of the Land Owner.

5)     In the event that you do not ask them and simply go ahead you will be trespassing and creating a danger to the public whilst doing so. The Landlord will successfully blame you: (a) for trespassing on their land; and (b) for creating a danger on the land. You would be 100% liable under the principles of contributory negligence.

6)     Your insurers will not cover you unless you have the landowners permission – you must agree the chairs use with them.

7)   To keep within Ofcom and EU licensing the FM transmitter must not exceed 50 nanowatts

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