Crowd Control – Managing Busy Days at Your Pool

It’s a good problem to have… attendance is up and your pool is packed. Now how do you safely manage the poolside rush?

Handling large crowds at busy pool facilities requires careful planning and diligent supervision. Brush up on your crown control strategies now so you’re prepared for your next busy day. 

  • Lifeguard Staffing

    • Ensure a sufficient number of certified lifeguards on duty based on pool size and capacity.
    • Schedule additional lifeguards during peak hours to maintain optimal supervision.
    • Never waiver on appropriate guard coverage. If you’re short staffed consider closing sections of the pool or aquatic amenities that require extra coverage. 
  • Staff Training:

    • Take time in advance to conduct staff training on crowd management, emergency response, and communication protocols on busy days. 
    • Ensure staff is well-versed in pool rules and policies. They’ll be harder to enforce, but of vital importance when crowds are present. 
  • Pool Capacity Monitoring:

    • Utilize minimal points of entry to implement a controlled admission system to track and limit the number of patrons in the pool area.
    • Post visible signage indicating maximum capacity.
  • Rotation and Positioning:

    • Proactively develop a map of lifeguard coverage during full-capacity scenarios. 
    • Rotate lifeguards frequently to prevent fatigue and maintain vigilance.
    • Position lifeguards strategically to cover all areas, including deep and shallow sections, play features and aquatic amenities that require additional supervision. 
  • Zone Management:

    • Divide the pool area into zones and assign lifeguards to specific areas for focused supervision.
    • Designate zones for different guest activities (e.g., lap swimming, recreational play) to minimize activity crossover. 
  • Clear Communication:

    • Ensure lifeguards and staff have effective communication tools (e.g., whistles, two-way radios) for swift coordination, even in noisy environments. 
    • Train staff to communicate with hand signals well in advance of crowds. 
  • Emergency Preparedness:

    • Review and practice emergency response procedures regularly.
    • Conduct unannounced emergency drills to assess staff readiness.
    • Consider adding bystanders to your in-service trainings to simulate real-world scenarios. 
  • Crowd Control Measures:

    • Enforce pool rules and policies consistently to prevent unsafe behaviors.
    • Manage line queues for water slides or attractions to prevent overcrowding.
    • Map out deck furniture to allow for appropriate spacing around the pool. 
    • Use barriers, fences and ropes as crowd control devices. 
  • First Aid and Medical Services:

    • Maintain a well-equipped first aid station with trained staff.
    • Ensure all first aid equipment is regularly audited and replenished. 
    • Have protocols in place for medical emergencies and prompt access to medical professionals.
  • Continuous Surveillance:

    • Ensure lifeguards maintain vigilant scanning of their assigned areas.
    • Address distractions with dedicated staff that do not have scanning responsibilities
  • Adult Supervision

    • Set clear expectations and rules for adult supervision of non-swimming children. 
    • Consider deep-end testing to identify non-swimmers and restrict their areas of pool usage. 
    • Regularly inspect all aquatic areas to ensure all supervision requirements are being met. 
  • Announcements and Communication
    • Test your public address system regularly to ensure announcements are clear and audible. 
    • Use public address systems for important announcements, including weather alerts or safety instructions.

By implementing these strategies, aquatic managers can effectively handle large crowds at busy pool facilities while prioritizing the safety and well-being of all patrons. Diligent planning, staff training, and continuous vigilance are essential components of crowd management in aquatic environments.