POOL DESIGN   |   Carolyn Feinstein   |   May 16, 2020

POOL DESIGN   |   Carolyn Feinstein

May 16, 2020

It's summer, which means many of our clients are itching to expand their outdoor activity options. As you may have guessed, the most popular choice is a pool! Pools are a great way to punch up the yard, increase your property value, and entertain family and friends, but along with the excitement, the prospect of a new pool brings some concerns about safety.

Feet of little kids sticking out of the side of a pool on a sunny day.

Image Credit: Joe Pizzio

There are a number of different approaches to ensuring your pool is a safe place for kids, pets and wandering wildlife. You have door and window sensors, pool fences and gates, motion detectors that scan the surface of the pool, and sensors that will tell you if an individual has been submerged for a potentially dangerous length of time. These are all great approaches. After all, it's better to prevent a tragedy than deal with one. Today I am going to focus on a technology that alerts you to activity in the pool. Preventive devices to keep unwanted swimmers out of the pool are a must, but nothing can substitute for an alarm that notifies you when all other safety measures have been circumvented.

As of this article, there are only a few devices on the market that will scan the pool, or that have sensors to measure underwater activity. Some require a sensor to be physically attached to the individual, while others scan the surface for disturbances. These are insufficient measures in my book. A device containing a sensor that can fall off (or be dislodged by tiny fingers), or a battery that can lose its charge only serve as a false sense of security. Plus, do you really believe that if a child is sneaking into the pool unsupervised, he/she is going to stop to attach a safety device to themselves? Other devices are just plain ugly. Safety first of course, but why should we have to sacrifice aesthetic?

Recently, I came across a product, relatively new to the market, that seems to check all of the boxes in terms of safety, technology, affordability, reliable power sources, and aesthetic appeal. Developed by Coral Detection Systems in Israel, the Coral Manta 3000 is a technologically advanced pool detection system designed for residential use. The range of features, notifications, smartphone app, and sleek design make it a very appealing offering.

The Coral Manta 3000 placed on the edge of a sunny pool for 24/7 underwater safety monitoring.

Image Credit: Coral Detection Systems

As JCA Design Group does not have direct experience with this product, nor have we vetted Coral Detection Systems as a company, we are simply sharing the discovery of this potentially life saving product with our readers, and cannot speak to its efficacy. If anyone wants to come install a pool at my place so I can try this out, I'll happily post an update once I've put it through its paces.

While I have yet to install a pool in my own backyard, I am constantly designing pools for our clients, and have very stringent requirements when it comes to pool safety. A dead battery or disconnected power source renders a system useless, so my first criteria for a pool alarm is power. If it doesn't have a rock solid, foolproof power source, I'm not interested. Something to note in terms of power requirements for the Manta; You don't need to activate or deactivate the sensor when you're using the pool, which means this lifeguard is always on duty. However, that also means it needs a serious power source to keep up with the demands of constant operation. To solve this issue, the Manta has top-mounted solar panels for recharging, and a corded option as a backup for cloudy days.

Secondly, the alerts and alarms. I need to know a device will send out alerts that will not only get my attention when I'm poolside, but also when I'm in the shower or at the grocery store. Check! The Manta has a device-integrated alarm that will alert those nearby and send notifications to the smartphones and/or tablets of everyone in the household. The Manta ensures it gets all hands on deck when a danger is detected. The accompanying smartphone app allows you view real-time underwater images and let Manta know if it is a false alarm, so it can learn the unique features of your pool.

Now the all-important questions; So how does it do all of this? Is it effective? Coral Detection claims the Manta uses an underwater camera to track each person in the pool. Straight out of the box it is ready to constantly analyze the video to determine if the actions (or inaction) of the individual resembles that of a drowning person. After 10 to 15 seconds of inactivity from an individual, it sounds the alarm and offers real-time underwater images on demand.

Examples of the functionality of the Coral Manta 3000 smartphone and tablet app notifications and alerts.

Image Credit: Coral Detection Systems

Understandably, the Manta may give some false alarms at first. As the Manta is a learning device, it is accompanied by an app that can be used to teach your Manta about the unique features of your pool, which alarms are unwarranted, and ultimately, help it become a more accurate detection system.

The Coral Manta 3000 is currently listed at a retail price of $2,499 USD. Considering a new pool, on the lower end of the scale, is going to set you back over $50,000, plus the surrounding landscape and accessories, setting aside less than 5% of your budget to create a safe space seems well worth the investment.

Coral Detection Systems has also released the Coral Shell, a budget friendly sister product meant for shaded areas with much of the same functionality of the Manta 3000. It is powered by an external charger with a 6-10 hour battery life. As I said, I'm not a big fan of battery powered devices when it comes to life and death, but this may be an adequate substitute if the pool does not have sufficient direct sun to power the Manta. The initial offerings from Coral Detection Systems are impressive, which makes me excited to see how it will improve and what they will release next. In the meantime, if you decide to jump into the deep end with the Coral Manta 3000, shoot me a review of your experience. I'd love to hear about it in action!

As always, JCA Design Group does not solicit or accept compensation for the articles we write. We are featuring this product because it is impressive technology that could potentially save a life.