More beaches in Los Angeles County are adding access mats on the sand to expand accessibility for those who use wheelchairs and other assisted transportation.

“The mats are great,” said Pono Barnes, an ocean lifeguard specialist for the LA County Fire Department. “It’s brought a lot of people down to the beach that otherwise couldn’t have access to as easy.”

The mats, made from synthetic mesh that allows sand to fall through, create a firmer surface over the sand. No special wheelchairs or other equipment is required to use the mats.

Beach Access Mats Are Available at the Following Locations:

  • Dockweiler State Beach
  • Manhattan Beach
  • Marina “Mother’s” Beach
  • Topanga Beach
  • Torrance Beach
  • Venice Beach (available April through October)
  • Will Rogers State Beach
  • Zuma Beach (available April through October)

Long Beach will install access mats at Granada Beach, Alamitos Beach and Mother’s Beach next week.

The LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors has also made beach wheelchairs available free of charge at many of the county’s beaches.

A list of locations with beach wheelchairs available can be found here.

Kristy Bernal used to go in the water and hold her 16-year-old son Zachary, who uses a wheelchair, on beach trips.

The Whittier family said the beach wheelchairs have been a huge change for special needs.

Her son’s wheelchair struggles to move in sand. With the beach wheelchair, Zachary can get across the beach and even experience going in the water.

“It is so easy to go across the sand,” Bernal said. “You go in the water, and (the chair) just goes with the water. It doesn’t take you in.”

The wheelchairs cross the sand without sinking due to their larger and wider wheels, Barnes explained.

Although Bernal appreciates how the wheelchairs are easy to use, she wishes the chairs were more accessible.

“It would be really awesome if beaches would have it sitting next to their lifeguard stations or every other lifeguard station,” Bernal said. “I guarantee they would be used several times a day.”

Click here to learn more about beach access services.

For questions, call (424) 526-7842.



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