Supplement Feature - February 2019
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Aquatic Trends Report

By Emily Tipping

All 100 percent of the respondents from Ys said that a lifeguard is on duty during all hours that their aquatic facilities are open.

Respondents from colleges were the next most likely to have a lifeguard on duty at least some of the time. Some 92.8 percent said a lifeguard is always on duty, and 5.4 percent said a lifeguard is sometimes on duty.

They were followed by schools (82.9 percent always have a lifeguard, and 14.6 percent sometimes do); parks (92.6 percent always have a lifeguard on duty, and 2.8 percent sometimes do); rec centers (75.4 percent always have a lifeguard on duty, and 19.3 percent sometimes do); and camps (64.7 percent always have a lifeguard on duty, and 15.7 percent sometimes do).

Lifeguards are the first line of defense against drowning, but they are not the only method used to protect swimmers. When it comes to drowning prevention, here are the tools most commonly employed by respondents:

  • Lifeguard on Duty: 92.1 percent
  • Life Preservers Required for Less-SkilledSwimmers: 54.2 percent
  • Safety Device That Sounds 4.9 percent
  • Video or Other In-Pool Detection System for Detecting Swimmers in Trouble: 4.9 percent
  • Other: 5.5 percent

Respondents from Ys were the most likely to use all of these tools for drowning prevention, while camps were the least likely to rely on these tools for drowning prevention.

ADA Awareness & Compliance

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that there were 56.7 million people in the United States with a disability in 2010. That represents 19 percent—nearly one-fifth—of the population. This includes both physical and mental impairments that have an impact on major life activities.

Also in 2010, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards were updated with new requirements for swimming pools. Broadly speaking, the requirements cover commercial swimming pools, including public pools run by municipalities and school districts, as well as private pools, such as those in hotels. The rules require that pools with more than 300 linear feet of wall need to include two means of access, one of which must be a fixed pool lift or sloped entry. Pools with less than 300 linear feet of wall only require a single means of access, but that must be a lift or sloped entry.

Nearly a decade after the new requirements were introduced, awareness and compliance are both relatively high.

The vast majority of respondents (95.6 percent) said they are aware of the ADA requirements for swimming pools, up from 93.8 percent in 2017. Another 0.7 percent said they are not aware of the requirements, and 3.7 percent were not sure. (See Figure 23.)