Supplement Feature - February 2019
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Aquatic Trends Report

By Emily Tipping

It is fairly commonly understood in the aquatic industry that lower-income populations, as well as minorities often have less access to learn-to-swim programs. Many facilities attempt to overcome these barriers—as well as reaching those with a fear of water—with outreach programs. Nearly three in 10 respondents (28 percent) said they currently have a low-income outreach program, while 16.3 percent have a minority outreach program. Nearly one-fifth (19.9 percent) said they offer learn-to-swim programs that aim to help patrons overcome a fear of water. (See Figure 20.)

Respondents from Ys were the most likely to reach out to low-income, minority and water-phobic audiences. In fact, more than three-quarters (75.3 percent) of Y respondents who had learn-to-swim programs said they had low-income outreach programs, while 42.9 percent engaged in minority outreach, and 40.3 percent had programs for those looking to overcome a fear of water. They were followed by respondents from parks with learn-to-swim programs, 28.6 percent of whom engaged in low-income outreach, with 16.7 percent engaging in minority outreach, and 18.4 percent engaging in programs to overcome water fears. (See Figure 21.)

Water Safety & Drowning Prevention

As mentioned in the previous section, well over half (57.2 percent) of respondents provide water safety training to their patrons. But there are other ways to address water safety, through lifeguarding programs, as well as specific tools aimed at preventing drowning.

A majority of respondents (84.2 percent) reported that there is a lifeguard on duty at all times the aquatic facility is open. Another 7.8 percent said a lifeguard is on duty during some hours of operation. Only 8 percent said there is never a lifeguard on duty at their facilities. (See Figure 22.)