State of Aquatics (2022): Questions to Consider

During the 2022 State of Aquatics webinar, we discussed four key priority areas based on the observations we have seen in the field this summer. Below we have created a list of questions for your organization to consider as you think through how to address those priority areas on your pool deck or waterfront.

Test. Mark. Protect. 

  • How can we utilize non-aquatics staff, or set aside specific times for swim testing to offset staffing shortages?
  • How are we documenting which youth have been swim tested and which have not? 
  • How are we enforcing our policy at every pool or waterfront?  
  • How are we making sure that our policy is simple so that it is easy to be executed? 
  • Are our marking procedures simple enough that lifeguards can clearly identify non-swimmers?  
  • How are we educating our community (guardians, counselors, guests, etc.) on our policy so that everyone can support lifeguards in their work?
  • How are we communicating with guardians who don’t want their child to be swim tested or wear a PFD?

Lifeguard Positioning 

  • How are we regularly testing to make sure that we have an adequate number of lifeguards to guard the entire pool or waterfront?
  • How are we testing to make sure that lifeguards can recognize a victim in their entire area of responsibility? 
  • How are we including lifeguards in the testing process to make sure they understand why positions exist?  
  • How often are we asking lifeguards in the stand if they can see their entire area of responsibility?
  • How are we empowering lifeguards to change their position if a blind spot exists?  
  • How are we responding when a lifeguard shares they are unable to see a section of their area of responsibility?  
  • If the pool or waterfront can’t be adequately guarded, which sections can be closed or programs can be altered? 

Lifeguard’s Expectations to Get Wet Everyday 

  • When our lifeguards are on duty, do they expect to get in the water every day?
  • How frequently are our lifeguards completing a realistic drill from start to finish?
  • What drill can we implement this week to give lifeguards realistic practice?
  • How can we continue to evolve and give lifeguards practice every day?
  • How can we utilize non-aquatics staff to help implement drills? 
  • How are we practicing our emergency action plan and rescues with the number of guards we have on duty? 


  • How many lifeguard staff do we expect to leave before summer programming ends?
  • How are we planning now to make sure we have an adequate number of lifeguards towards the end of summer? 
  • How can we create backup plans now if staff leave or don’t show up for their shifts? 
  • Where can we reduce hours or adjust programming for the staff we will have?
  • How are we planning now to onboard any new staff to ensure they are adequately trained? 
  • How will we transition from summer aquatic programming (camps, outdoor pools, etc.) to school-year programming (indoor pools, afterschool, childcare, membership, etc.)?