Supplement Feature - February 2020
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A Deep Dive Into Aquatic Facility Trends

By Emily Tipping


Nearly one-third (32%) of respondents said that they have plans to add features at their facilities within the next three years, up from 29.2% in 2018. Respondents from camps were the most likely to have such plans. Some 41.9% of camp respondents said they would be adding features at their facilities. They were followed by parks (34.3%), and Ys (32.2%). Respondents from rec centers and colleges were the least likely to be planning additions at their facilities, though 20.6% and 24.7%, respectively, said they had such plans. (See Figure 19.)

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

  1. Shade structures (planned by 28.9% of those who will be making additions, up from 26.1%)
  2. Poolside climbing walls (21.5%, down from 23.9%)
  3. Pool inflatables (20.2%, up from 14.9%)
  4. Pool slide (18.9%, up from 17.9%)
  5. Pool exercise equipment (18.4%, down from 18.7%)
  6. Water playgrounds (15.9%, up from 14.9%)
  7. Poolside cabanas (14.9%, up from 13.8%)
  8. Teaching platform (13.2%, did not appear on 2019 top 10 list)
  9. Zero-depth entry (13.2%, up from 12.3%)
  10. Water basketball equipment (12.7%, up from 11.1%)

Respondents from parks were the most likely to be planning to add: pool slides, water coasters, river raft rides, pool inflatables, lily pad/water walks, diving platforms, wave pools, water playgrounds, zero-depth entry, lazy rivers, poolside cabanas, surf machines, and lifeguard stands.

School respondents were the most likely to be planning to add: diving boards, pool exercise equipment, pool lifts and other accessibility equipment, water polo equipment, water basketball equipment, water volleyball equipment, and scoreboards.

Respondents from Ys were the most likely to be planning to add: starting platforms, lane lines, underwater treadmills, teaching platforms, and swim walls/pool bulkheads.

Camp respondents were the most likely to be planning to add: poolside climbing walls, solar heating, pool blankets and covers, and shade structures.

Respondents from rec centers were the most likely to be planning to add swim platforms.

Programming

Though not every aquatic facility needs to offer programming to entice swimmers to the water (splash pads and waterparks can provide enough attraction simply by being built), it does offer a way to boost revenues and outreach in the community. A majority—95.8%—of respondents to the survey said they do currently provide some type of programming at their facilities. In fact, 100% of respondents from schools and recreation centers said they currently provide programming. Camp respondents were least likely to do so, though a majority—89.7%—even of these respondents said they currently do provide programming at their aquatic facilities. (See Figure 20.)