The Story of STARK Bulkheads

Ceramic Solutions Pools - august-newsletter_0

Australian swimming successes at the Melbourne (1956), Rome (1960) and Tokyo (1964) Olympics fuelled enthusiasm for local governments in Australia to develop purpose-built community swimming pools.  Fifty years later, swimming in Australia is the largest participation sport and this, combined with the current requirement for all children to be taught to swim, brings to the forefront the need to expand and improve swimming facilities.

The limitations placed on local government budgets and cost of new-build aquatic centres has led many facilities to review the type of up-grades and provisions aquatic facilities can achieve.  With many venues having existing 50m long pools, bulkheads – otherwise known as booms – offer a way to accommodate a variety of water activities simultaneously within separate areas of the same swimming pool.  This not only eliminates the need for building additional pools, but also increases the utilisation of a facility and its financial performance.

Construction of Stark bulkheads.
In the past, bulkheads were originally constructed from wood or concrete.  With obvious disadvantages of both, aluminium and later stainless steel constructions were developed.  These bulkheads had greater stability, but other problems occurred with corrosion and deflection, the later causing issues for competitive swimming events.

The development by Stark of a fibreglass bulkhead without any internal stainless steel or aluminium, eliminated the problems of corrosion.  Even more importantly, Stark bulkheads are built as one-piece, providing a stronger, lighter and more aesthetically pleasing product with no deflection issues.

Since the production of its earliest units in the 1960’s, Stark has continued to refine and develop the design – by incorporating moulded fibreglass buoyancy tanks for easier repositioning.  Other features include non-slip finish on the top of the unit and on the targets to provide improved grip.  Timing trays, starting block anchors, flow through lane ropes and many other features have also been developed to improve pool programming options.

Stark is the largest manufacturer of fibreglass bulkheads in the world – supplying bulkheads globally for major swimming events including Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and Australian Championships.

Ceramic Solutions are the exclusive distributors for Stark bulkheads within Australia.  Oliver Huss, Managing Director of Ceramic Solutions has more than 20 years experience in the pool and leisure industry and understands the OH&S issues aquatic centres are confronted with.  “Slips and trips are always a major concern with young children, a bulkhead that doesn’t impede upon the concourse reduces the likelihood of injury”, says Oliver.  “Having installed 12 bulkheads in the last ten years, I am delighted in the performance of the products.  Unlike other systems, Stark bulkheads are simple to operate and take up very little space out-side the pool.  This is particularly important if the walkway surrounding the pool is not very wide”.

A swimming pool is a community’s largest asset and a bulkhead encourages participation in multiple water activities.  Stark bulkheads are custom built to suit each pool and recognised as the benchmark for quality fibreglass products in aquatics, with all bulkheads manufactured with a 22 year structural warranty.