River Pool at Beacon is a 501c(3) non-profit community organization located in Beacon New York. We are a volunteer-run organization dedicated to nurturing a love for the Hudson River by creating safe access to swimming in the Hudson.
About The River Pool At Beacon
The River Pool at Beacon
River Pool at Beacon was created to provide a floating swimming pool along the banks of the Hudson River to
• Provide safe access to the Hudson River;
• Educate the general public about the importance of continuing to preserve and clean the Hudson River;
• Promote swimming as a fun, healthful fitness activity in the natural environment;
• Demonstrate to other communities the viability of floating pools.
The River Pool
The River Pool at Beacon is a floating pool in the Hudson River located off the northwest shore of Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront park in Beacon New York. Colorful perimeter floating seats offer pool users spectacular views while connecting with the Hudson River. The pool is secured to the river bottom by elastic hawsers that allow the pool to rise and fall with the tide so that it maintains a constant depth of 24 to 30 inches. The pool is 20 feet in diameter and with a submerged rigid structural tube under the perimeter seats. The pool bottom is made of a high-strength Dyneema netting that allows people to safely walk on the pool floor without contacting the river bottom or vegetation. A series of closely spaced vertical pickets under the perimeter seats allow water to flow through the pool while preventing swimmers from getting swept by river currents. The floating seats are connected by a system of rubber connectors so they stay connected but can roll with the waves as they pass by. Click here to see how The River Pool is set up. The pool is accessed from the shore of the park via a gate and ramp leading to an entry platform the pool. Certified lifeguards are on duty when the pool is open. Throughout the swim season, the Dutchess County Health Department regularly monitors the water quality to assure that it is safe for swimming. Water quality at the River Pool site is one of the best in Dutchess County.
Community volunteers assemble and install the pool each June and disassemble it in early September enabling the pool to typically be open from early July to Labor Day. During the winter months, the pool components are stored in sheds in a secure area of the park.
The River Pool is located just off the north shore of Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park. The park is only a few minutes walk from Beacon’s train station and ferry dock as well as regional attractions such as DIA: Beacon, Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock, and Beacon’s Dennings Point.
Dr. John R. McLaughlin
A Brief History
When flow-through pools—installed in rivers and filled by their currents—lined the perimeter of Manhattan at the turn of the last century, those static wooden structures were largely used as bathing facilities for the immigrant community. And if they were not habitat friendly, they brought people into the river.
Pete Seeger—musician, activist, and founding member of River Pool at Beacon, Inc.—remembered seeing pictures of those pools and thinking,
“The more people swim in the river, the more people would be pushing to clean it.”
Such were the origins of the 20-foot River Pool. Seeger, along with mechanical engineer Alan Zollner, marine ecologist Cindy Cowden, and WNYC newsroom editor Karen Frillmann were early board members who assisted architect Meta Brunzema in research, design, and development. A proposal for a small wading pool was submitted to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in 2003 for a permit. Because a larger pool made with untested materials could pose environmental risks, the DEC had asked for a smaller prototype with which to evaluate the pool’s impact on aquatic species. More significantly, perhaps, it had always been important to Seeger to bring children to the river to introduce them to river ecology at a young age.
A small, shallow pool answering to both needs was installed at Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park in Beacon in 2007. As Brunzema said, “This pool design was something that had never been done before.” A safe place for young children to swim, it also offers river access, a lesson in river stewardship, an experimental prototype for a larger design, and finally a model that can be adapted by other river communities around the country. The pool also answered to the realities of budget, regulatory criteria, environmental conditions, and material considerations; to the forces of tides and currents; to safety, stability, and durability requirements; and to the need to protect fish from entrapment while warding off invasive species, such as water chestnuts. It was also designed so that members of the organization could take in and out of the river with a volunteer crew.
Since that first summer, the rainbow pool has brought more than 15,000 kids to the Hudson River. Its maintenance and operation are supported by funds raised by the Annual Great Newburgh to Beacon Hudson River Swim.
This summer, the River Pool will open as always in early July. And as always, it will be free, offering kids a way to get into the river, to be introduced to its currents and tides, to learn about river life and to take that first step and swim towards becoming river stewards. As our founding partner Pete Seeger believed, we know that the stewardship of a great river can begin on a summer afternoon, one child, one laugh, one splash at a time.