Parks & Recreation 2022 Aquatics Guide

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Discover AquaSmart™ Packages. Save energy, water and space. Now any community can enjoy a compact and affordable splash pad that operates with just a push of a button. Innovative and engaging, AquaSmart Packages are powered by HydroLogix™ so no electricity is needed. To learn more and inspire your outdoors, visit ©2021 Landscape Structures Inc. All rights reserved.


Aquatix® by Landscape Structures Exploratory water events are the coolest way for the whole family to cool off, and Aquatix® by Landscape Structures leads the way. Aquatix knows no boundaries when it comes to interactive water-based encounters, inventive escapades and thrilling surprises. The company’s splashtastic products engage kids’ imaginations, encourage exploration and deliver exhilarating new experiences with water to people of all abilities and on splash pads of all sizes. With more than 30 years of experience, Aquatix, based in Delano, Minnesota, is a forerunner in water feature and spray park design, fabrication, and construction. But it’s the company’s pioneering concepts, groundbreaking design and a commitment to inclusive-play opportunities that truly set Aquatix apart. The innovative technology used in the company’s AquaSmart™ Packages has made water play possible for more and more communities. Sized right for smaller pocket parks and compact areas, these self-contained packages are ready to install and operate with just a push of the button. Powered by HydroLogix®, one push and the entire splash pad comes to life. When the water shuts off, kids turn it into part of the game as they race back to start the splashing all over again. Choose from several different packages to meet a variety of space and budget requirements. Even better, the patented HydroLogix system is now available as an alternative mechanical system. HydroLogix is a domestic single-pass system that combines the activator, distribution manifold and collection drain into a single, easy-to-install component. The entire system is fabricated from durable stainless-steel materials

that are vandal and corrosion resistant. Imaginative designs from Aquatix pack in plenty of interactive surprises. With themed products, like the RocketShip FlashFlood, which slowly fills and then whooshes out the bottom onto users below, and the Tall Pine Bucket Shower, which has two pine cone-themed dumping buckets and sprays from the top of the tree branches, kids of all ages are encouraged to use their imaginations as they splash through the environment. Additionally, Aquatix is one of the only splash pad companies that fabricates with stainless-steel, fiberglass and Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) materials to create oneof-a-kind spray park elements, like the AquaHedra®, as well as natureinspired products, like the SeaDome, SeaPier with Pelican and AquaFall, which are all sculpted from concrete. And don’t forget about the Nautilus Slides, AquaGather Station, and HydraHub1 and HydraHub2. With the right mix of water play components from Aquatix, everyone will be able

to find the perfect way to enjoy the tactile joy of water on a hot day. Learn more about Aquatix by Landscape Structures and its full offering of aqua play products by visiting 877.632.0503

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Contents FEATURE


4 Lifeguard Shortages Challenge the Aquatics Industry

10 Become a Certified Aquatic Facility Operator COMPANY PROFILES

Cover image: Photo courtesy of Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation

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Aquatix® by Landscape Structures Lincoln Aquatics Rocky Mountain Sunscreen Water Odyssey by Fountain People

C3 Aquatic Design Group

Hyatt Lodge | Oak Brook, Illinois August 14-18, 2022




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Lincoln Aquatics Since 1954, Lincoln Aquatics has served commercial swimming pool operators like you. Our reputation was built by carrying the highest quality products, which are available through our more than 350 distribution centers nationwide. We have the products you need, stocked and ready to deliver to your facility. Our Lincoln catalog contains the most comprehensive selection of high-quality swimming pool equipment, chemicals and aquatic supplies available in the industry. Our catalog is organized into an easy-to-use format that will help you quickly locate the products you need. The Lincoln name is recognized for providing customers with quality products and su-

perior service at competitive prices. Due to space limitations and the technical nature of many of our products, it is not possible to have them all listed in our catalog. Our website,, includes additional items. We currently carry more than 120,000 products, manufactured by more than 900 different vendors. We can provide you with detailed manuals, parts lists and brochures for each product we carry. Customer satisfaction remains our top priority. Our knowledgeable staff is available to serve you and answer any questions you may have. We appreciate your business and pledge to do our best to meet your needs and exceed your expectations. 800.223.5450


800.223.5450 |

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Lifeguard Shortages Challenge the Aquatics Industry By Michael Butson and Dr. John Tower


shortage of aquatic center staff, such as lifeguards, is an international issue. Regions, including the United States, Canada, South America, Australia and the United Kingdom, are experiencing a shortage of aquatic staff due to constraints brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Demand is now higher than ever for aquatic staff, but the applicants are just not available. Aquatic facilities and programs across the United States have been closed due to the inability to recruit and maintain lifeguards. Recently, NRPA has described several strategies being adopted in the industry to overcome lifeguard shortages. These strategies include employing retirees and teachers to work as lifeguards, as many teens have lost interest or found better paying jobs. Additionally, areas across the United States have increased the hourly pay for lifeguards from $8.50 to $10 and lowered the minimum age from 16 to 15 to alleviate a staffing shortage. There is a need for park and recreation agencies to consider the recruitment process to attract and retain lifeguards as part of their human resources (HR) strategy.

Many Australian lifeguard positions in the largely casual workforce remain vacant even though COVID-19 constraints are being lifted. According to Royal Life Saving 4

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Australian Capital Territory — an organization committed to the development of swimming and water safety skills for children of all ages ( — there is

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residual hesitation in the community to be engaged with individuals in the work setting. Lifeguards can be required to interact with unknown individuals as part of their responsibilities, so some people are reluctant to take on the role for health and safety reasons. The shortage of lifeguards puts pressure on aquatic and recreation centers (ARCs) and managers, causing ARCs to cancel programs and/or close temporarily. A pre-COVID-19 study sought to explain the recruitment and selection process and identify reasons for lifeguard turnover from the Victoria, Australia ARC managers’ perspective. Figure 1 identifies the eight steps in the recruitment and selection process used to guide this study. This study highlighted that a

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has increased lifeguard recruitment and retention issues.

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Figure 1: The Recruitment Process


Job Analysis

Job Job Description Specification

shortage of lifeguards existed before COVID-19. However, it is evident that COVID-19 has increased lifeguard recruitment and retention issues. The purpose of this article is to explain lifeguard turnover and how it relates to the typical career behavior of young employees, and provide suggestions to improve recruitment and selection of lifeguards.

ARC managers explained that the lifeguards’ working environment is a significant factor that creates high levels of lifeguard turnover. Turnover of Lifeguards Australian lifeguards were typically between the ages of 18 and 25, and usually mimicked the career behavior of young employees. Lifeguards worked casually or sporadically part time or full time, evenings, weekends, and/or during the summer while attending school or university. Royal Lifesaving Australia describes becoming a lifeguard as a “challenging but extremely rewarding career.” However, many ARC managers do not consider lifeguarding a career. Instead, many managers consider lifeguarding a temporary platform into alternative careers, typically outside of the aquatics industry. Prior research in the United States concluded that inadequate sala6

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Employer Branding and Promotion

Recruitment Shortlisting Methods

ries and inconsistent hourly wages cause high lifeguard turnover (tiny The wage for Australian lifeguards is not as much of an issue because they tend to be paid well above the minimum wage, usually at approximately $30 (AUD) per hour. However, there is a discrepancy in wages of approximately $15 (AUD) per hour within the aquatics industry in Australia. Managers in lesser-paying facilities; e.g., contract management rather than direct local government employees, believed lifeguards use a position to gain experience to eventually secure a position within a higher paying facility; e.g., local government management. This type of behavior is common among younger employees who tend to remain in a particular position if their wages surpass other alternatives. As a result, younger employees in Australia and the United States will usually only make tentative commitments to employment. Moreover, younger employees are less likely to view their employment as the most important characteristic of their lives and express less loyalty to an organization than older individuals. ARC managers explained that the lifeguards’ working environment is a significant factor that creates high levels of lifeguard turnover. ARC managers described lifeguarding as monotonous and unappealing. Lifeguarding is perceived as a job that only can be done for a short period. ARC management indicated that negative

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Selection Techniques

relationships with colleagues and a dysfunctional organizational culture had increased lifeguard turnover.

Recruitment and Selection Opportunities Researchers have long established that recruitment and selection practices can affect employee turnover. Employee turnover is costly, but costs can be minimized by improving HR processes. ARC managers in the study did not have a formal recruitment or selection process for lifeguards. These processes were often unstructured and did not follow a documented policy or procedure — for example, the steps in Figure 1. ARC managers should consider documenting and formalizing the HR recruitment and selection process of lifeguards. ARC managers also should consider implementing a realistic job preview (RJP). An RJP presents a realistic insight into what a job entails, showing both the positives and the negatives so applicants get a genuine feel for what skills are needed on the job and what a typical shift would be like. Arguably, RJPs are more important in the aquatics industry because ARC managers described the lifeguard role as “monotonous,” “boring” and “unappealing” — all characteristics that applicants should be aware of prior to the role to reduce turnover. Some ARC managers adopted a very haphazard approach to fore-

casting the needs of their lifeguard workforce. Forecasting involves estimating the size and composition of the workplace required to meet an organization’s objective. When done well, forecasting will identify several key concepts important for the aquatics industry (e.g., predictability and capacity to accommodate turnover; the suitability of full-time, part-time and casual roles; and annual or cyclical fluctuations in staffing). Currently, there is no assessment of current workforce capacity, demand or supply forecasting processes. These processes are important in an effective HR forecasting procedure. Improved HR forecasting will enable ARCs to avoid short- and long-term gaps in aquatic staff. ARC management could consider forecasting options, like using statistical methods and historical trend analysis, to predict needs. For example, forecast-

ing may show surges in usage during the warmer summer months, exemplifying the need for a greater workforce during that time period. ARC managers are not engaging in a traditional job analysis during the recruitment and selection process. Proper job analysis helps ARC managers to determine knowledge, skills and attributes (KSAs) and specific lifeguard roles and responsibilities required by their ARC. Our study found that managers compare with other facilities to determine the KSAs required by lifeguards. ARC managers reported no need to complete a job analysis because they believe the roles and responsibilities of a lifeguard are consistent and do not change from one ARC to the next. This approach suggests that all ARCs are similar, yet it is likely that each ARC has its particular characteristics that impact its staffing needs.

For the most part, lifeguard participation in the job analysis process is not a widely recognized component of the recruitment process. Current lifeguard participation and contribution to a job analysis is essential to obtain accurate and important data about their responsibilities. Engaging lifeguards in the job analysis contributes to “employee voice.” Employee voice gives current lifeguards opportunities to express authentic ideas, concerns and perspectives. Thus, current lifeguards can influence decisions and processes in ARCs through their feedback. Providing lifeguards with a voice at the job analysis stage is vital for instituting a happy, productive and engaged workforce because they can see their role is respected and valued. A further value of this process may help reduce unnecessary lifeguard turnover. Employer branding is the practice Employee turnover is costly, but costs can be minimized by improving human resources processes.

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Organizations that consider factors beyond monetary value improve the overall recruitment and selection process and reduce employee turnover.

of promoting a business or organization to prospective employees. Employer branding describes an employer’s reputation and the offerings and value to employees. Many Victorian ARC managers did not adequately consider the impact of their center’s image on the recruitment and retention process. ARCs adopted one of two distinctive employer branding and promotion approaches that reveal a significant wage gap in the aquatics industry. Government ARCs assumed that sizeable monetary reimbursements would entice the best lifeguard candidates. ARC managers from commercial and not-for-profit facilities accepted the inconsistencies in lifeguard wages. Consequently, they focused on training opportunities, free memberships and award programs to attract the strongest candidates. ARC employer branding and promotion efforts should emphasize non-monetary factors, focusing on the importance of psychological values, innovation values and application values. Employer branding and promotion generally consist of innovation opportunities, feelings of confidence and self-worth, and, typically, growth, learning and the ability to practice one’s knowledge and skills. 8

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Organizations that consider factors beyond monetary value improve the overall recruitment and selection process and reduce employee turnover. Shortlisting candidates involves creating a “short list” of applicants that ARCs want to invite to the next step of the recruitment process. Currently, ARCs are shortlisting against the quality and content of the application, candidates’ age and availability — failing to consider important KSAs. Our study identified the KSAs sought by ARCs that include communication, reasoning, conflict resolution and problem-solving. We recommend not dismissing the current practices, but instead, adding stages to create a multifaceted shortlisting framework. For example, ARCs should explore past experiences to match candidates’ KSAs with the needs of the ARC. Furthermore, ARCs should explore candidates’ personal qualities and determine if these have an appropriate fit within the organization. Appropriate fit can be determined during the shortlisting process or when implementing selection techniques. Recruitment decisions should not be based on the results of one selection technique alone. ARCs need to combine two or more selection

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techniques to assess KSAs. Importantly, ARCs use multiple selection techniques to assess candidates (e.g., telephone pre-screening, group interviews and reference checks). However, only around half of the study participants completed work sample assessments. During work sample tests, applicants complete a nominated set of physical tasks like those required in the lifeguard role (e.g., a cardiopulmonary resuscitation scenario, a bone fracture or a spinal injury emergency). ARC managers who did not use work sample assessments considered them to be impractical and time-consuming. When ARCs omit work sample assessments from their recruitment and selection process, they miss an early opportunity to assess those practical skills and abilities required by lifeguards. The work sample assessment also provides a further opportunity to provide candidates with an RJP in their potential new working environment. Arguably, an ARC’s most crucial asset is its workforce, including gym attendants, customer service staff and pool lifeguards. These individuals put the material resources (e.g., financial and physical) into use and convert them into aquatic and recreational programs and services. Worryingly, a shortage of pool lifeguards is causing significant disruptions across the aquatics industry. The findings from our study indicate that a focus on the HR processes of forecasting, job analysis, employer branding, shortlisting and selection with a rigorous RJP may improve lifeguard recruitment and retention and reduce lifeguard turnover. Michael Butson is a Ph.D. student at Monash University (michaelcbutson@ Dr. John Tower is Honorary Research Fellow at Victoria University (

Aquatic Facility Operator Certification




Responsible operators understand the entire pool system. The AFO Certification will prepare your staff to run all types of aquatic facilities safely, efficiently and confidently.


Become a Certified Aquatic Facility Operator host instructor. To see the full list of 2022 course dates and locations, visit AFO.

Become an AFO Instructor

NRPA’s Aquatic Facility Operator program provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date training for pool operators.

NRPA offers the premier certification program in swimming pool operations: the Aquatic Facility Operator (AFO) certification. The AFO program provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date training for pool operators on operations, mechanical systems, water chemistry,


disinfection, safety and much more. If you are interested in receiving your AFO certification, register to attend one of the March 2022 courses listed below. Courses are taking place both in person and virtually; for courses listed as virtual, the location represents the location of the

Take the next step in your career and share your extensive knowledge of aquatic operations by becoming an AFO Instructor (AFOI). As an AFOI, you can gain recognition as a content expert, network with hundreds of aquatic professionals nationwide, create a potential revenue stream for your organization and reduce internal staff training costs. Moreover, you can help other professionals follow industry best practices and contribute to the improvement of aquatic facilities across the country. To learn more, visit AFO or contact NRPA Aquatics Program Manager Elizabeth Gonzales at



In Person or Virtual


March 7-8

Indiana Park and Recreation Association



March 8-10

World Waterpark Association



March 10-11

Aquatics by Armando



March 10-11

Commercial Energy Specialist

In Person

Margate, Florida

March 10-11

Professional Pool Solutions, LLC



March 10-11

The Goal Life


South Carolina

March 22-23

Safety First Aquatics



March 23-24

Kansas Recreation and Park Association

In Person

Lawrence, Kansas

March 23-24

Educational Leverage, LLC



March 24-25

The Goal Life


South Carolina

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Rocky Mountain Sunscreen

Because one size doesn’t fit all, NRPA offers many ways to support the field of parks and recreation. Choose the one(s) that best suits your situation:

Rocky Mountain Sunscreen is the most convenient and cost-effective way to protect your staff from the sun. Our full line of sunscreen products has been trusted by the park and recreation industry since 1992. Feel the difference when you apply Rocky Mountain Sunscreen! We have a non-greasy bonding base formula that interlocks with your skin, allowing it to stay on better and last longer. Rocky Mountain Sunscreen goes on smooth, is non-greasy and environmentally friendly. Our bonding base formulas provide superior protection in the water. Rocky Mountain Sunscreen is ideal to use on a daily basis, as it will not clog your pores and allows your skin to breathe and sweat. Safety is our top priority, which is why our sunscreen products DO NOT contain harmful ingredients like oxybenzone, octinoxate, parabens or gluten. With over 1,000 applications per gallon, you’re sure to get the most value for your sunscreen dollar. 888.356.8899

Online Giving is an easy click away. Monthly Giving enables you to be an anchor for NRPA during these times of volatility.

Cost-Effective Sunscreen in Bulk! Feel the Difference!

Tribute Gifts honor someone special or celebrate an important occasion. Gifts of Appreciated Stock allow you to save on taxes while supporting parks and recreation. Gifts Through a Donor-Advised Fund are a great way to see the impact of your gift right away. Gifts from Your IRA may be a great way to avoid taxes on your withdrawal and meet your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD). Please consult with your tax advisor on the giving option(s) that best fits your personal situation. For more information, visit, email us at or call us at 703.858.2190.

Lotion Gluten Free ■ Oil Free & Greaseless ■ Reef Friendly ■ Fragrance Free ■ Water Resistant






(80 minutes)

Broad Spectrum


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Water Odyssey by Fountain People Water Odyssey™ by Fountain People designs and manufactures high-quality interactive water features with superior design support to help the park and recreation industry budget, plan and fulfill its water play-area plans. Our design team collaborates with architects, landscape architects, aquatic consultants, artists and end users around the world to develop innovative aquatic play environments and equipment. Water Odyssey specializes in creating unique, project-specific products to turn the customer’s vision into a reality. Water Odyssey provides a wide range of aquatic play solutions for toddlers to teens, including ground sprays, interactive features that spin and spray, dumping buckets, themed slides, slide

structures, controls and filtration systems. Our website provides a gallery ( of products that includes everything from architecturally inspired structures to highly themed spray features and installed projects, as well as pre-planned, proven spray park designs to quickly make your water play area a reality. From 3D renderings, animations, budget analysis and bid documentation, to piping and electrical drawings, Water Odyssey creates compelling aquatic play experiences with ongoing customer support for the life of the project. Inquire about our cooperative purchasing options. With more than 25 years of proven performance, Fountain People is a world leader in the manufacturing of

Creating fun ways to spray & play! From contemporary designs to fun themes, we work with you to develop innovative aquatic play equipment and environments. CONTACT US FOR YOUR NEXT AQUATIC PLAY EXPERIENCE. 512.392.1155 | 12

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modular pumping and water-treatment systems, designed specifically for water features and aquatic play. Water Odyssey products are installed in commercial and municipal facilities all over the world. All Water Odyssey products are made in the USA and fabricated at our facilities in San Marcos, Texas. Get Inspired. Get Support. Work With Water Odyssey. www.water 512.392.1155


Aquatic Design Group


Post a Job on the NRPA Career Center

Aquatic Design Group sets the standard for architectural, mechanical, electrical and structural design, and consulting services within the aquatics industry. 800.938.0542 | 800.938.0542 California | North Carolina | Virginia | New England

Advertiser Index Aquatic Design Group.......................................... C3 Aquatix by Landscape Structures..................... C2 Fountain People/Water Odyssey....................... 12 Lincoln Aquatics........................................................ 3 Rocky Mountain Sunscreen.................................. 11

NRPA is dedicated to providing resources to aquatics professionals operating swimming pools in every community.

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