New CEN standard: Climb on the water? Now you can, thanks to EN 17164:2018! 

In many parts of Europe, climbing and bouldering is an increasingly popular sport, and gyms offering this kind of sport are growing in number. After all, climbing provides practitioners with the right amount of adrenaline and adventure, while training all year round comfortably (and relatively safely) indoors. Indeed, climbing is a leisure activity that has a lot to offer in itself. And yet, it could be even better (and certainly more refreshing): what if when falling, one could fall into water?

This is not just a dream: specialised companies are already building walls for use in swimming pools. These structures allow users to climb above water without rope safeguarding, with the certainty that, if they fall, they will fall into water, thus transforming a possible failure into a refreshing dip. Naturally though, given their use, it is fundamental for these structures to be as safe as possible. This is the aim of recently published EN 17164:2018 ‘Climbing/bouldering walls for use in the water area of swimming pools of public use - Safety and operational requirements’.

This European standard specifies safety requirements for climbing/bouldering walls, which are vertical and/or overhanging towards the water area, for use in the water area of swimming pools for public use, in addition to the general safety requirements of EN 13451-1 Swimming pool equipment.

In particular, the standards sets very clear guidelines on design, materials, distance between elements, test methods and numbers of people who can be allowed on the climbing walls at the same time. It also states which information should be clearly displayed on or near to the climbing wall, such as user instructions through pictograms, graphics, text, maximum number of users, location of the different climbing zones, height of water, etc. The whole, general aim of the text is to ensure that risks are minimised and users can concentrate on having fun!

EN 17164:2018 has been prepared by CEN/TC 136 ‘Sports, playground and other recreational facilities and equipment’, whose Secretariat is held by DIN, the German national standardization body (NSB).

For more information, please contact Claire Dalier.