With the Poseidon drowning detection system, aquatics has truly entered the age of technology. Developed in France in the 1990s and first sold in the United States about a decade later, the system uses state-of-the art computer vision technology to act as “additional eyes” for lifeguards.
Images from a series of cameras are transmitted to a computer to provide pool staffers with a real-time, three-dimensional account of all activity in the pool. If something is amiss, the system alerts the staff immediately.
In January 2009 the company was acquired by Maytronics Ltd., with U.S. headquarters in Norcross, Ga. The system has been installed in nearly 50 facilities across the United States, including a number of YMCA pools, and municipal facilities. That number is likely to increase over the next several years. Whitehurst expects that with new sales and marketing efforts under Maytronics, more in the industry will become aware of the system.
To date, 15 lives have been saved as a direct result of the Poseidon system and lifeguards’ training and skills, says Bill Whitehurst, vice president-North America for Poseidon.
Tomorrow’s aquatic safety and risk management is all about technology Whitehurst says. But he’s quick to add that technology cannot replace human lifeguards.
“Poseidon is not intended to replace the lifeguard,” he says. “It’s there to supplement and enhance [the level of safety guards provide].”