Una deBoer, director of global marketing and Strategy at WhiteWater
Raising safety Safety is the highest priority in the visitor attractions world. WhiteWater’s Una deBoer tells us how the company maintains elite safety standards in waterparks and the steps operators can take to improve safety across the entire industry
y workday starts by reading industry news round-ups and our google alerts to track what’s happening in our world. Sometimes my heart sinks because I read about an accident on a ride and my empathy – as a mum – kicks in, especially if I read about injured children or parents. It’s worse somehow when a place created for the purpose of joy suffers a tragedy. I don’t think my somewhat emotional reaction is unusual – at WhiteWater we all take our responsibility very seriously. We love that we bring families together and we know their safety is also in our hands. Each of our designers and engineers knows that keeping people safe is our number one priority, while still offering a fun, and at times thrilling, ride experience. Keeping that balance between thrilling rides and safety should be the top of every park and manufacturer’s mind, but is it 70 attractionsmanagement.com
something we talk about enough as an industry? I feel safety becomes part of the industry narrative more when an accident hits the press. We need our efforts in safety to be more visible at all times, not just when there is an issue to address. Accidents do happen and we need to be prepared. That means proactively managing risks related to rider behaviour, maintenance procedures, operational training, or design.
Safer slides by design: Waterslides are much more technical than they look. Consider that in a rollercoaster, the rider is in a restraint in a vehicle on a fixed path. For a waterslide, a rider is in vehicle that can vary in inflation, weight and water flow, and the operator relies on the behaviour of the rider to maintain the right body position. Both people and water behave dynamically so we have to be exacting in our design methodology.
Keeping that balance between thrilling rides and safety should be the top of every park and manufacturer’s mind, but is it something we talk about enough as an industry? AM 4 2019 ©Cybertrek 2019
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