Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pool Operators

We’re fortunate to work with great operators at great pools around the country. Each has their own unique background and skill set, but some regular habits are consistently met by all great operators. Does your pool make the grade?


Habit One – They Know the Water

Your chemical tests are the crystal ball of your pool’s performance. They let you look into the future and give you a head start on chemical balance issues before they become a nuisance to your patrons. Beyond that, your chemical tests serve as your record that you were meeting all health department requirements. Great operators know their chemical values. They fully utilize their test kits and religiously track their results, often times going beyond the health department standards.

Habit Two – They Know the Codes

Your pool operates under the guidance of several organizations who have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Beyond your state and local health codes, you answer to various regulatory setting bodies who can check up on your pump room protocols, staff training requirements and poolside policies. There are also several standard setting organizations in aquatics that document and share poolside best-practices. Great operators know where these bars are set, and they consistently outperform standards and regulations. Not sure if your pool makes the grade? Find more information here.

Habit Three – They Know Their Health Inspector

Great operators have a great professional network starting with their sanitarian. Forget the pejorative connotation associated with the health inspector – your local official is a well-trained, well-informed, well-meaning professional doing the exact same thing you’re doing… working to keep your pool safe. Think of them as free risk management specialists. Build a rapport, keep them in the loop and ask them questions. They’re there to help.

Habit Four – They Can Be the Wet Blanket

You’re in a fun role. You work poolside interacting with great members and even better staff. It’s easy to embrace the role of the fun pool guy or gal. Enjoy your job, but don’t get so caught up in it that it becomes a challenge to enforce rules or discipline staff. Pools that lack structure can quickly become dangerous. The best operators are seen as safety-oriented professionals first.

Habit Five – They Watch the Pool… All The Time

Yikes! Sounds like a daunting task, right? The good news? Great operators quickly realize they can’t do this alone. They develop a great team underneath them and enlist the support of fellow managers and supervisors. When a team of trained eyes can keep you in the loop, you don’t have to be on-site 24/7. An operator with a balanced work / life schedule is better than a burnt out pool boss in August.

Habit Six – They Take Care of their Equipment

No surprise here, we write about preventative maintenance a lot, and for good reason. The best operators know their equipment really well. You don’t have to be particularly handy, or mechanically inclined to be successful with this basic, you just need to be diligent about following manufactures instructions. It’s simple – catalog your equipment, store the manuals and follow their instructions for regular care and maintenance. If you can’t complete a PM task in-house, contract with a qualified professional who can. You equipment will last longer and you’ll save time by staying on top of troubleshooting issues.

Habit Seven – They’re Overstaffed

Lots of operators made it through the first six basics, only to fall off here, in the last week of July… with a pile of vacation request sitting on their desks. High school students have activities, college students go back to school and adults employees have lots of other commitments. Pair that with an employee who’s ready to quit and a few more you’d like to get rid of… it turns out you should have hired a few extra aquatic associates in April. Don’t make the same mistake as you move into the fall. Our hiring articles have year-round advice:

Hire Great, Train Great, Evaluate

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