Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

January 2019

Grant Funds Help Educate Pool Operators

By Deborah L. Vence

Using funds from a Pool Safely grant, Bridgeport, Conn., is offering free Certified Pool Operator (CPO) courses for local pool operators.

As part of a broader pool safety initiative by the city of Bridgeport, the pool certifications will boost the expertise of local professionals in a state that has no certification requirement for pool operators currently. Blue Wave Pool Service and Supplies Inc.—a company that provides renovations to residential and commercial in-ground pools—will conduct the courses, which run through mid-2020. The grant funds are from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Bridgeport received $152,000 from Pool Safely this year. The Pool Safely grant program, which was initiated as part of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act, supports community efforts to reduce drowning and drain entrapment injuries. Besides funding local learn-to-swim efforts, the city also will use part of the award to cover the cost of offering 10 CPO certification courses for free to local pool operators and health department officials.

Blue Wave provided five certification courses for the city when it received its first award of Pool Safely funds in 2016. Justin Ivey, Blue Wave Manager, said, "The courses were offered free to attendees, with all costs being covered by the awarded grant. The goal was to certify at least two staff from each commercial property with a pool. From those five CPO courses in 2016, 51 students successfully received their CPO certification. That group of students was comprised of Health Department staff, property maintenance employees and managers, and pool service employees."

The first Blue Wave course funded by this year's grant took place in November. Thirteen students were in attendance.

In funding CPO certification, Bridgeport has prioritized improved facility maintenance and compliance as a supplement to its learn-to-swim initiatives. The city decided on this course for its ability to equip operators to prevent hazardous incidents that are commonly associated with pool facilities, such as accidental chlorine gas exposure and recreational waterborne illnesses or RWIs.

A credential offered by the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF), CPO certification provides comprehensive instruction on aquatic facility maintenance and risk prevention. All CPO courses are taught by NSPF Certified Instructors, who have certified more than half a million students to date.

For more information on NSPF's CPO certification, visit For more information, on the Pool Safely grant program, visit

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