How To Keep Sand out of Beach Resorts and Hotels.
Sand is a magical substance. It lines our oceans and serves as a warm resting place for the sun-soaked vacationer. The creative child will spend hours playing in it, creating forms and shapes limited only by the imagination. We dream of it all winter long. We spend hours of precious vacation time, packed into small cars, just to have a few moments strolling on it and sticking our toes in it. What is there not to like about sand?
Just ask any beachfront resort manager or maintenance staff member. Sand is a nightmare. It’s harder than cast iron; it sticks to everything it touches and destroys pool pumps, paint, and decks. It eats away at carpets and linens, creeps into elevators and sliding doors, and wears on vacuum cleaners, washers and dryers. It costs thousands of dollars in labor to remove and thousands more for repairs each year. There are few options resorts have to protect their property from the ravages of sand. Traditional solutions include short hoses and/or showerheads (knee high and overhead), mounted on posts of some kind. Neither of these is user friendly. The short hose is easier to use and faster but uses more water. These options are cheap to install but can be unattractive and require frequent replacement.Resorts may choose to invest in heavy duty outdoor showers. Typically, these will come as a tall cylindrical or square post made of stainless steel. Sometimes these are also powder coated. The post will have from one to four showerheads, mounted at the knee high and overhead positions, actuated by automatic shutoff buttons or knobs.
If powder coated, these showers can cost well over $2,000. The framework of these showers is quite durable, but the automatic shutoff valves may need to be replaced many times a season due to heavy use and abuse at an average cost of around $100 parts/labor per replacement. The traditional options—whether heavy duty or not—do little to reduce the flow of sand into beachfront resorts. Most vacationers are not at all concerned with keeping the resort sand-free. They don’t want to put their stuff down to wash off, so they and their sand covered accessories usually head to the nearest pool steps for a quick wash or, even worse, track sand all the way to their room to shower. Traditional options also waste a lot of water, as careless guests often leave the water running if there are no shutoff valves. And frequently, when an automatic shutoff valve breaks, it allows the water to run continuously.
Many resorts have found a great option for curtailing the sand flow: the Surf Splash, a relatively new and innovative automatic foot shower. This foot shower hooks to a garden hose (or can be hard-plumbed). It utilizes standard municipal water pressure and requires no electricity. The user steps onto the platform of the foot shower to activate five spray nozzles on each side. There are no knobs to turn or buttons to push and no need to contort or even bend over. The water spray stops automatically when the user steps off.
The Surf Splash automatic foot shower is made of stainless steel and is primer coated, then powder coated. It costs hundreds of dollars less than most heavy duty traditional outdoor showers, and custom side panels can display the name of the resort. The Surf Splash is convenient, easy to use, and highly effective at removing sand from the feet and lower legs. This translates into a dramatic reduction of tracked-in sand which results in reduced labor costs to remove sand from pools, pool decks, elevators, sliding doors, and carpets and also reduces the costs of repairs for damage caused by sand. Before automatic foot showers were installed, a timeshare resort in Daytona was spending $35,000 every six months to re-stain the pool decks, due to constant wear from tracked-in sand. After installing automatic foot showers, the resort did not have to re-stain the pool decks for more than a year, saving $70,000. Resorts typically report an 80-90% reduction of tracked-in sand after installing automatic foot showers.
Due to its efficiency and automatic shutoff feature, the foot shower also conserves water. An independent test at a resort in Myrtle Beach indicated that the automatic foot shower installed there (replacing the garden hose) would save 150,000 gallons annually. Sand will always be a constant battle for beach resorts, but there are some key tools to help minimize and mitigate its effect.