Supplement Feature - February 2019
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Aquatic Trends Report

By Emily Tipping


The 10 most commonly planned additions at aquatic facilities in the next three years include:

  1. Shade structures (planned by 26.1 percent of those who will be making additions)
  2. Poolside climbing walls (23.9 percent)
  3. Pool exercise equipment (18.7 percent)
  4. Pool slides (17.9 percent)
  5. Pool inflatables (14.9 percent)
  6. Water playgrounds (14.9 percent)
  7. Poolside cabanas (13.8 percent)
  8. Underwater treadmills and bikes (13.1 percent)
  9. Zero-depth entry (12.3 percent)
  10. Water basketball equipment (11.1 percent)

Ys are the most likely to be planning to add many types of features. These respondents were more likely than those from other facility types to report that they have plans to add: pool slides, poolside climbing walls, diving platforms, diving boards, starting platforms, lane lines, pool exercise equipment, teaching platforms, water playgrounds, zero-depth entry, lazy rivers, lifeguard stations and scoreboards.

Interestingly, college respondents were more likely than those from other facilities to be planning to add water coasters, river raft rides, lily pads and water walks, wave pools and surf machines. This seems to indicate that some number of colleges are planning to expand their aquatics into the waterpark realm. These respondents were also more likely than those from other types of facilities to be planning to add water polo and water basketball equipment.

Park respondents were more likely than those from other types of facilities to be planning to add pool inflatables, shade structures and water volleyball equipment.

Camp respondents were the most likely to be planning to add pool lifts and other accessibility equipment, and rec center respondents were the most likely to be planning to add underwater treadmills and bikes.

Programming

While you can build and outfit a pool and just allow patrons to come and swim and entertain themselves however they please (as long as it's safe), the vast majority (95.5 percent) of aquatic respondents said they provide some type of programming at their facilities. In fact, 100 percent of respondents from schools, Ys and recreation centers said they currently provide programming. Camp respondents were the least likely to provide programming, though a majority (81.6 percent) said they currently do. (See Figure 17.)


The following are the types of programs covered in the survey and their prevalence among respondents' offerings:

Learn-to-Swim Programs (83.3%)

Leisure Swim Time (75.3%)

Lifeguard Training (74%)

Lap Swim Time (73.2%)

Aquatic Aerobics (66.4%)

Birthday Parties (63.1%)

Youth Swim Teams (57.4%)

Water Safety Training (57.2%)

Swim Meets & Other Competitions (48.5%)

Aquatic Programs for Those With Physical Disabilities (36.7%)

School Swim Teams (35.5%)

Aquatic Programs for Those With Developmental Disabilities (30.9%)

Dive-In Movies (28.5%)

Water Walking (27.5%)

Aqua-Yoga & Other Balance Programs (22.7%)

Aquatic Therapy (20.7%)

Adult Swim Teams (20.6%)

Diving Programs & Teams (18.9%)

Water Polo (16.5%)

Doggie Dips (14.7%)

Collegiate Swim Teams (9.3%)