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Feature Article - June 2017

Aquatics

A Look at Trends in Aquatic Facilities



Swimming pools and other aquatic facilities feature a dazzling array of amenities and possibilities, from simple, rectangular community pools to splash play areas, from natatoriums designed for competition to wide-ranging aquatic parks with slides, surf machines, wave pools and more. There's been a lot of innovation over the years that adds up to pools that run more effectively, more efficiently, with cleaner, clearer water that offers a tremendous range of possible activities for visitors. And that innovation keeps on coming, which means today's pools can use fewer resources to provide cleaner water for a wider range of fun and fitness.

In this section, we'll take a look at the answers provided by those survey respondents whose facilities include aquatic elements. For our purposes here, that means these facilities include at least one of the following: indoor swimming pools, outdoor swimming pools, splash play areas, waterparks or hot tubs.

In 2017, more than half (53.4 percent) of respondents to the Industry Report survey said their facilities included aquatic elements. (See Figure 36.)

Aquatic Facilities

There was little change in the types of aquatic facilities represented in the survey between 2016 and 2017. The most common type of aquatic facility found among respondents' facilities was outdoor swimming pools. More than seven out of 10 (72.8 percent) aquatic respondents said they had at least one outdoor swimming pool. They were followed by indoor swimming pools, found among 64.8 percent of aquatic respondents. Nearly half (49.3 percent) said they had splash play areas. Another 39.7 percent had hot tubs, spas or whirlpools. And slightly less than one-quarter (23.7 percent) of aquatic respondents said they had waterparks.

Outdoor swimming pools were most commonly found among aquatic respondents from the South Atlantic and South Central regions. Some 84.7 percent of South Atlantic respondents and 78.2 percent of South Central respondents said they had outdoor swimming pools. They were followed by those in the West, where 73.2 percent had outdoor pools. Respondents from the Midwest were the least likely to include outdoor pools, with 64.3 percent indicating they included this type of feature at their facilities. When considered by community type, respondents from the suburbs were most likely to include outdoor pools, with 76.3 percent of suburban respondents including them in their facilities.

Indoor swimming pools were most commonly found among aquatic respondents located in the Northeast region, where 68.3 percent of aquatic respondents said they had indoor pools. They were followed by respondents from the South Central region, where 67.9 percent had indoor pools. South Atlantic respondents were the least likely to report that they had indoor pools, with 56.9 percent indicating they did. When it comes to community type, indoor pools were most common among urban respondents, with 73.7 percent indicating their facilities included at least one indoor pool.

Splash play areas were most commonly found among aquatic respondents from the West, where 55.5 percent said they counted at least one splash play area among their facilities. They were followed by the South Atlantic and South Central regions, where 52.8 and 52.7 percent of respondents, respectively, said they include splash play areas. Nearly half (48 percent) of Midwestern aquatic respondents also included splash play. Splash play areas were least common in the Northeast, where 34.6 percent of aquatic respondents said they include them. Community-wise, splash play areas were most common in urban areas, with 57.2 percent of urban aquatic respondents reporting that they have at least one splash play area.

Waterparks were most commonly found among aquatic respondents from the South Central states and the Midwest. Some 32 percent of South Central respondents and 28 percent of Midwestern respondents said they had at least one waterpark among their facilities. Waterparks were least common in the Northeast, where only 10.9 percent of respondents included them. Considered by community type, waterparks were most commonly found in the suburbs, with 27.9 percent of suburban aquatic respondents reporting that their facilities include at least one waterpark.

Hot tubs, spas and whirlpools were most commonly found among aquatic respondents located in the West, where 53.3 percent said they feature hot tubs. They were followed by the Midwest, where 38.5 percent of respondents had hot tubs. Hot tubs were least common in the Northeast, where only 30 percent of respondents said they include them. In terms of community type, urban respondents were the most likely to include hot tubs, with 43.8 percent of aquatic respondents from urban areas reporting that they include at least one hot tub, spa or whirlpool as part of their facilities.

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