Supplement Feature - January 2022
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Calmer Waters

The 2022 Aquatic Trends Report

By Emily Tipping


Water Safety

While more than half (55%) of respondents provide water safety training as part of their programming lineup, helping to equip their community members with skills they can take anywhere, facilities also step up and ensure they have well-trained lifeguards, as well as other methods to keep swimmers safe in the water.

A majority of respondents—91.5%-said a lifeguard is on duty at least some of the time during their operating hours, up from 90.6% in 2020. Nearly eight out of 10 (79.5%) said a lifeguard is on duty at all times the facility is open (down from 82.8% in 2020), while 12% said a lifeguard is on duty during at least some hours of operation. Just 8.5% said there is never a lifeguard on duty at their facilities, down from 9.4% in 2020.

Respondents from Ys were the most likely to report having a lifeguard on duty at least some of the time. In fact, 100% of Y respondents said a lifeguard is on duty at least some of the time, with 95.2% indicating there is always a lifeguard on duty, and 4.8% reporting a lifeguard is on duty at least some of the time. Respondents from colleges were also highly likely to have a lifeguard on duty at least some of the time, with just 1.5% indicating there is never a lifeguard on duty at their facilities. Some 78.8% of college respondents said a lifeguard is always on duty when their aquatic facilities are operating, and 19.7% said a lifeguard is on duty at least some of the time. (See Figure 24.)

Camp respondents were the most likely to report that there was never a lifeguard on duty at their facilities, though the number was relatively small—just 7.9% of camp respondents said there is never a lifeguard on duty at their facilities. This is down dramatically from 2020, when 21.2% of camp respondents said their aquatic facilities were not covered by lifeguards.

Many facilities take a layered approach to drowning prevention, and while having a lifeguard on duty is the most essential practice in this regard, other methods can provide an extra layer of protection for swimmers. When it comes to drowning prevention, the methods most often deployed by respondents include:

  • Lifeguard on Duty: 91.5%, up from 90.6% in 2020
  • Life Preservers Required for Less-Skilled Swimmers: 49%, down slightly from 51.6%
  • Video or Other In-Pool System for Detecting Swimmers in Trouble: 5.3%, down slightly from 5.4%
  • Safety Device That Sounds an Alarm When Submerged: 4.5%, up from 4%
  • Other: 5.7%
  • None: 5.9%, down from 7%