Best Practices for Swimming Pools

best-practice-poolsWe’ve spent a lot of time near the water lately. Last year, we worked with nearly 1000 pool operators from some of the best facilities around the country. Lets explore the best practices for swimming pools that we saw reoccurring at the highest performing facilities, water parks and aquatic centers around the county.



Personnel – It starts with the people. The best aquatic facilities managed their human capital better, and we couldn’t help but notice. These teams commit to service, safety and professionalism. Here’s how they’re doing it.

  • They Create a Culture of Safety – Rule enforcement is paramount. Accidents are limited because team members understand their role in the risk management process. This culture starts at the top and embraces these risk management strategies.
  • The Learning Never Stops – The best teams have committed to the continued education of their associates at all levels. In-service training for lifeguards and maintenance teams is both regular and continuous. Professional development budgets are set and well utilized for attendance at conferences and training. Membership in professional organizations is fully funded and participation is not just supported, but encouraged.


Operations – First impressions happen fast, and we can typically tell how well a pool is operating within the first few seconds after entering a facility. If we can close our eyes and find our way to the pool based on smell… that’s a bad start. Here’s what the best operators are doing to keep their facilities well-tuned.

  • They Meet the Codes and Beat the Standards – The best operators are well versed in their required codes and regulations. They also have a knowledge of the best-practice standards in their industry. The list of codes and standards impacting aquatic operations is exhaustive (on top of your state and local health code you need to consider OSHA, EPA, ADA and DOT regulations to name a few). Top operators aren’t surprised by these standards and often exceed them.
  • Proactivity is Their New Norm – Being proactive in pool management can mean so many things. Are you following a preventive maintenance schedule? Do you call rest periods and provide swim diapers to reduce the risk of waterborne illness? Are you quick to send in your chemical reports digitally to your health department so that time-stamped, secondary documentation is always on file? If not, connect with us to discuss simple, no-cost strategies to get ahead.
  • They’re Cautious Early Adopters – When we tour great facilities, we’re thrilled to see the great new technologies on the market. We’ve seen huge advances in filtration science, chemical delivery systems, advanced oxidation and energy reduction in the last five years. That doesn’t mean you should go out there and buy the latest and greatest without doing research. Smart operators wait, watch and ask questions. They demand scientifically supported, academically based, fact-checked technology. They’re interested in ROI schedules and documented peer review. Being tech-savvy is good. Requiring supporting information before a big purchase is great.


Events and Programming – What’s a great facility without great activities to go along with it? The best pools keep people coming back with ever-increasing success. Here’s what they’re doing.


  • They Know the Market – Advances in the pump room have been mirrored by advances in play features poolside. Fixed wave machines, paddle board yoga and splash pads may be all the rage this year, but what’s next? The best aquatic programmers are well read with regards to industry trade publications. A free subscription or e-subscription to Recreation Management or Aquatics International can help your team stay on top of the latest trends.
  • They Know How to Market – The days of snail-mail and detailed program guides may be limited. Research data on your target audience is out there. Take for example the Active Networks piece on The Buying Power of Moms. If they’re a part of your purchasing segment, you should know how they make their decisions.
  • They Give Back – The community connection with water is incredible. At our pools, we help people live happier, healthier lives through movement, community and recreation. Great facilities find creative ways to embrace that role. This year we’ve seen noble efforts in swim-to-safety education, community involvement and gratitude. Programming shouldn’t stop at revenue generation when it can be so much more.

At the Aquatic Council, we’re excited to be part of your path to great things. Let us know how we can help by reaching out on our contact page.