Industry Statistics - September 2018
Find a printable version here

Aquatics Industry Report

Aquatic Programming Trends

By Emily Tipping

Planned Program Offerings

Nearly a quarter (22.9 percent) of respondents to the survey said that they are planning to add additional programs at their facilities over the next three years. They were led by respondents from parks and recreation facilities, where 28.6 percent said they had such plans. They were followed by those from community sports and recreation centers (23.8 percent); Ys (20.4 percent); colleges and universities (19.2 percent); and camps (12 percent). Respondents from schools were the least likely to report plans for program additions, with just 6.5 percent indicating they would be adding new programs over the next three years. (See Figure 1.)

Interestingly, respondents in the middle, in terms of operating costs, are more likely to report that they have plans to add programs at their facilities than others. Some 30.1 percent of those who reported average annual operating costs between $250,000 and $499,999 said they would be adding programs at their facilities over the next three years. This compares with just 22.9 percent of those with annual operating expenditures of $500,000 or more, and 22 percent of those who spend $250,000 or less.

The top 10 planned programs among aquatic respondents include:

  1. Aquatic yoga and other balance programs (planned by 32.6 percent of those who will be adding programs)
  2. Dive-in movies (31.1 percent)
  3. Aquatic programs for those with physical disabilities (23.1 percent)
  4. Aquatic programs for those with developmental disabilities (20.5 percent)
  5. Aquatic aerobics (16.1 percent)
  6. Water walking (15 percent)
  7. Learn-to-swim programs (14.7 percent)
  8. Adult swim teams (13.2 percent)
  9. Aquatic therapy (13.2 percent)
  10. Youth swim teams (12.8 percent)

Among parks respondents who plan to add programs, the most commonly planned additions include: aquatic programs for patrons with physical disabilities; programs for those with developmental disabilities, aqua yoga and other balance programs; dive-in movies; and water walking.


This report is based on a survey conducted for Recreation Management by Signet Research Inc., an independent research company. An e-mail was broadcast and respondents were invited to participate. From the launch of the survey on Dec. 12, 2017, to the closing of the survey on Jan. 2, 2018, 1,194 returns were received. The findings of this survey may be accepted as accurate, at a 95 percent confidence level, within a sampling tolerance of approximately +/- 2.8 percent.