The Python in the Pool A 4-meter-long python in the pool
caused quite a shock to swimmers at a private club in Malaysia. The
snake was discovered by a guest after she dove in and noticed it by
a ladder. No one was hurt, and it was removed safely by
the fire department.
Nude Beach-Goer Arrested Christopher Axford was arrested
on a Massachusetts beach for unseemly behavior, according to local
news reports. Apparently, he was shaving his armpits and had his
shorts pulled down to his shins. Axford was subsequently charged
with lewd, wanton and lascivious conduct. Police said he is
homeless and shortly after being released following the beach
incident, he was arrested again on charges he stole a tip jar from
a pizza shop.
Buried Alive A teen visiting relatives in Newport Beach,
Calif., was nearly buried alive after a trench he was digging
collapsed on him. Matt Mina,17, was rescued by lifeguards and taken
to a hospital, where he was released several hours later.
“You have no idea how heavy the sand is,” he told his
mother after the incident, according to an AP report.
Wasn’t it just yesterday that you were hiring guards for
summer 2011? Now the year is fast becoming a memory. In case you
forgot, here’s a look back at what made headlines, and how it
might affect the new year.
- The recall Just before Memorial Day, the
Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of
approximately 1 million drain covers, including products from 10
manufacturers. The move is considered the largest recall ever
issued in the aquatics industry. While it was deemed voluntary,
replacing recalled covers is not optional, said Scott Wolfson, CPSC
public affairs director. Replacing recalled covers is ongoing.
Initially many in the industry raised concerns over whether
replacement products would be available and who would foot the bill
for the work. As of this writing, questions about the process
- The economy The nation is still on shaky
financial footing and it’s had an impact on aquatics. In the
spring, Sage Hospitality Resources put 10 of its 11 CoCo Key
resorts up for auction, and a report released over the summer by
Cleveland-based Hotel Leisure Advisors, LLC, indicates growth in
the waterpark resort market this year is the slowest in a decade.
On the municipal side, tight bugets meant another summer of
cutbacks. Lending is still tight, but the bright spots in 2011
leave room for optimism that 2012 will see a more substantial
recovery. Waterpark resort properties solidly in operation have
maintained firm performance, noted David Sangree, HLA president and
author of the waterpark resort report. Additionally, many experts
are seeing growth in international development.
- The American Red Cross A strong reaction
was heard when the American Red Cross announced a new pricing
structure, which officially became effective June 1. The Red Cross
said the new fees are part of a larger effort to improve aquatic
offerings and better meet the needs of underserved communities. The
organization maintains that the fees were set to better recoup
costs and create a more equitable system. However, many operators
expressed concern when the changes were announced and wondered how
they would meet the new costs. A meeting was held in California,
and Red Cross officials have said they are committed to working
with program providers who have worries. Still, not all
stakeholders are convinced that flexibility will be the best
solution. In an informal poll on aquaticsintl.com, only about half
the respondents said they were willing to negotiate with the Red
Cross on approved provider fees.
- Industry associations A number of changes
were made at aquatics industry organizations this year, and at
least one new group has entered the fray. In February, the National
Recreation and Parks Association announced that it was disbanding
the stand-alone Aquatics Branch and ending the dedicated aquatics
trade show and conference.
Around the same time, several industry veterans announced the
formation of a new group. The Association of Aquatic Professionals
is led by Executive Director Farhad Madani, consultant, Aquatic
Safety Experts, LLC, based in Austin, Texas.
- Drowning prevention Drowning prevention
remained top of mind for the industry in 2011. Efforts such as
CPSC’s Pool Safely campaign and USA Swimming’s Make A
Splash program are ongoing, and the second World’s Largest
Swimming Lesson set a new record. Also, the first-ever World
Conference on Drowning Prevention was held in Vietnam to address
the epidemic in less-developed nations. However, there was still a
significant number of drownings this year, and research from the
Red Cross indicates a substantial number of people still