September 14, 2017

Ken Martin on Lazy Rivers with Pool and Spa News

The latest edition of Pool & Spa News includes a special article as part of a series on Lazy Rivers, drawing some technical knowledge from Aquatic Design & Engineering’s (Martin Aquatic) founding principal, Ken Martin. The feature, “Makings of a River: A Look at Lazy River Hydraulic Systems,” provides a deeper understanding for those in the aquatics industry about some of the different propulsion systems for these unique water features.

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Specifically, Ken provided his expert perspective on variable frequency drives, especially when propelling swimmers around corners and bends along the river’s path.

“It works out very well, and our clients are really tickled and enjoy it, because they feel like masters of their own ship,” says Ken Martin, founding principal of Orlando-based Aquatic Design & Engineering.

However, VFDs are not meant to enable sloppy calculations by those expecting to fine-tune later. Designers still must exercise precision for the most cost-effective and efficient project possible.

When designing with all this power, entrapment becomes an even bigger issue than normal. “You have all these very powerful pumps that are drawing water from the actual river channel and pushing it back there through some very high-powered nozzles,” Martin says. “So we have to be quite quite careful.”

For this reason, strict adherence to the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act should be practiced. Martin’s company prefers to send water from the river to a collector tank before it goes back to the pump. “The pumps are never hooked directly up to the actual river itself,” he says. “[So] there’s no way they could get trapped against it.”

Martin Aquatic has been fortunate to design some incredible lazy rivers for resorts and water parks around the world, and we’ve gained a valuable knowledge base working with the engineering behind these features over our company’s 30-year history. To see some of our work with lazy rivers, visit our Project Page.


To read the full article from Pool & Spa News, visit