Aquatics Simplified


After years of visiting and troubleshooting pools I am frequently asked the question, “Why are pools so much work?” The answers to this question is not a simple one, but there are steps you can take to simplify the process.

Aquatic facilities are diverse with all sorts of equipment types and the knowledge base required to operate and maintain this equipment keeps getting larger. Let’s consider for a moment that just the pool alone requires expertise in chemistry, hydraulics, motors, pumps, electricity, HVAC, lighting and many more subjects. Not to mention the management of employees and customer relations, which present their own challenges. Our facilities also contain fitness equipment and all the other maintenance associated with building maintenance. Pools are really not any more work than the maintenance of other components of the facility. The trick to reducing this workload often lies in three areas.

First, prioritize a preventative maintenance plan and stick to it. Maintenance is a lot more “work” when failures occur after hours or at crucial times of the year. Reduce that work by scheduling maintenance when it’s convenient and cost effective.

Second, recognize your areas of expertise. Perform the tasks your staff has a core competence in yourselves. In those areas where you do not have expertise, contract the work to someone who does. Sure you may have to budget for it but that is easily accomplished and is quite often cheaper than creating problems by doing something improperly. One might describe this strategy as ‘Change a light bulb yourself if it burns out, but call a qualified electrician to put a new outlet in the wall.’

Third, visit other similar facilities and implement best practices that you observe. Not everything you see will work for you at your facility but witnessing and talking to other facilities will provide valuable insight to change. The aquatic industry is very special in that it is effective in training and retaining young men and women who stay in the industry for a long time. Facility manager and supervisors often start in the industry by swimming recreationally and often competitively. They often become lifeguards and move on to swim instructors, program manager and aquatic directors. That’s a lot of years of experience that is close by for you to explore and take advantage of simply by asking questions.

Reduce your work and stress by implementing these simple practices. Your facility will operate better and your guests will keep coming back to enjoy all your facility has to offer.

Brian Bokowy is the business manager of CIM at AllChem Performance products.  He can be reached at

Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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