Supplement Feature - February 2021
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Just Keep Swimming

The 2021 Aquatic Trends Report

By Emily Tipping


Respondents from parks had the highest average operating costs in 2019, reporting that they spent an average of $770,000. They were followed by schools and Ys, spending $480,000 and $470,000, respectively. Camps had the lowest average operating cost by far, spending an average of $110,000 in 2019. (See Figure 8.)

From 2019 to 2020, all types of respondents reported either no change or a decrease in their aquatic operating costs. The greatest decrease was reported by respondents from camps, who saw their aquatic operating expenses fall 27.3%, from $110,000 in 2019 to $80,000 in 2020. Smaller decreases were reported by parks (down 7.8%), colleges and universities (down 2.9%) and rec centers (down 2.6%). Respondents from schools and Ys reported no change to their average operating cost in that time frame.

Only colleges expect that their operating expenses in 2021 will be lower than their expenses in 2019. Among college respondents, no change is expected from 2020 to 2021, which marks a 2.9% lower average cost than 2019 ($330,000 vs. $340,000). Respondents from parks and camps expect their average operating cost in 2021 to return to the same level as 2019. The greatest increase over 2019 is expected by respondents from Ys, who anticipate an average operating cost of $530,000, up 12.8% from $470,000 in 2019. Smaller increases are expected among respondents from schools (up 6.3% in 2021 from 2019's cost) and rec centers (up 5.3%).

Comparing costs between facilities that only feature indoor or only feature outdoor pools, the data shows that those whose facilities only include indoor pools saw a slight decrease in operating expenses from 2019 to 2020, while those with only outdoor pools reported no change. From 2019 to 2020, those with indoor pools only saw their average operating costs fall by 3.6%, from $280,000 to $270,000. Looking forward, they expect their operating costs in 2021 to be the same as their costs in 2019. At the same time, while those with outdoor pools only reported no change to their average costs from 2019 to 2020, they expect a 50% increase in 2021, to an average of $330,000. (See Figure 9.)