Fitness center weighs future with salt; saltwater pool, that is

Could a saltwater swimming pool be the wave of the future at San Juan Island Fitness?

The powers that be at the Friday Harbor fitness center are considering whether to replace the traditional chlorinated water of its swimming pool with saltwater, known as Salt Pure, and are seeking input from community and its membership on the possible conversion.

“This is a major financial decision for the club,” said Paul Hopkins, owner of the fitness center. “We want to know how many community members may begin or return to swimming should we move forward. While we are a private company, this is the only year-round, public access pool on the island so we also see it as a community asset.”

Hopkins notes that state health codes require a minimum disinfectant (chlorine) level of 1.5 parts in the water, and that while a conversion to saltwater would not eliminate the requirement, swimmers would notice an “enhanced” level of comfort in the feeling and odor of saltwater. Those are among the benefits should the club decide to convert, he said.

“Most who have swam in a Salt Pure pool notice the absence of a chlorine odor and say it feels smoother on their skin, eyes and hair,” he said. “Many who have skin that is adversely affected by ordinary chlorine report no problems with a salt pool.”

The fitness center has set up an email account where feedback can be sent on the potential conversion;

For additional info, contact the fitness center at 378-4449, or visit,