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The sun shelf (also known as a Baja shelf, tanning shelf, tanning ledge, or thermal shelf) was once a feature that only appeared in resort pools. A sun shelf is a platform of varying sizes and depths situated just below the water surface. The depth of water on the shelf can range from less than an inch to up to a foot or more. The space can be used as a children’s play area or large enough to accommodate chaise lounges, tables, chairs, etc. Additionally, the shelf can be outfitted with bubbler or bollard jets, lighting, umbrellas, etc.
The sun shelf is also utilized as a means of ingress and egress to the pool and is often the top step in a series of steps in a shallow end of the pool. The sun shelf mimics a beach entry or zero-depth entry system for swimming pools without the slope and space restrictions required for such features. Sun shelves can also be placed in the deeper ends of swimming pools to serve as a resting or tanning area.