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Supplement Feature - February 2019
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Aquatic Trends Report

By Emily Tipping


A dozen years ago, in 2007, we launched the State of the Industry Report, publishing our first round-up of readers' responses to an extensive survey in the June issue of Recreation Management. We followed up annually, and over the course of 11 years' worth of surveys, have amassed a great deal of data from which to draw conclusions about where the industry has been—and where it is going.

Within the field of parks and recreation, sports and fitness facility management, there are myriad segments, any of which could bear further and deeper investigation. The aquatics industry, in particular, with its complex operations, unique costs and challenging staffing requirements, presents a fertile field for further study.

In 2018, we introduced more specific research into the aquatics industry, expanding on the information already provided in the State of the Industry Report. That information was published in various issues throughout the year.

This year, we've chosen to aggregate the data into a single report, which you now hold in your hands.

Welcome to our Aquatic Trends Report. In these pages, we expand on the information covered in our annual State of the Industry Report to discuss more specific trends within the aquatics industry, from staffing challenges (a good lifeguard can be hard to find) to equipment trends and more. This report does not replace the information covered in the State of the Industry Report. The June issue will still include aquatics information, including construction trends and more. But here, you'll find more detail about systems used for keeping pool water safe and clear, trends in resource conservation, pool features, programming, water safety, awareness of legal requirements, such as the Americans With Disabilities Act guidelines, and more.

We begin with some basic information about the 919 survey respondents whose facilities included aquatics—which could include the basics (swimming pool and hot tub) or more complex operations (full-blown aquatic parks and waterparks with rides, lazy rivers and more).

All regions of the United States were well represented in the survey, with the greatest number hailing from the Midwest. Nearly three in 10 (28.5 percent) respondents said they were from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota or Wisconsin. (See Figure 1.)


The second largest region was the West, with 23.1 percent. This includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

The Northeast was home to 17.7 percent of survey respondents. This includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Some 16.5 percent of respondents said they were from the South Atlantic states, including Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.

Finally, the South Central region was represented by 14.2 percent of respondents. This region includes Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.