Credit: Gary Thill
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One of the trickiest things about journalism is the off-the-record conversation. For those who haven’t committed “All the King’s Men” to memory, “off the record” means someone wants to tell you something, but they don’t want their name associated with it, and it’s not for publication.
As editor of this magazine, I’ve had more than my share of such conversations,
and I’ve always kept my word. Often, however, the
off-the-record conversation is more of a gray area, something
that’s never really said, but understood. In these
situations, I err on the side of caution and
But I often walk away thinking it would be better for the industry if these conversations were out in the open, on the record, if someone had the guts to say in public what they say in private.
So with the new swim season at hand, I’ve decided to do just that with a list of things you should do this season that no one seems willing to say, but someone should.
Require naked,soapy showers. Showering in a
bathing suit is not enough if you really want to battle RWIs,
especially crypto. Naked, soapy showers are the first and
most logical defense against pathogens, yet almost no one seems
willing to require them. Is our squeamishness over our bodies really worth the
risk of an outbreak? Educating your patrons about their role in
preventing RWIs is the best way to encourage such behavior.
Start making some money. The days of
municipal facilities operating at a loss are fast becoming a thing
of the past, especially in these difficult economic times.
Operators need to run their facilities like businesses and show
their municipalities why they’re a line item that should not
be cut. That means operating with a competitive spirit, and even
raising admission prices. Remember, with the increasing number of
private waterpark resorts and swim clubs, the municipal facility is
not the only game in town anymore.
Get certified, or get out. If you manage or
supervise a body of water, there’s no excuse for not being
certified. Options for certification are plentiful and research
proves that certified operators run cleaner, healthier, safer
facilities. You don’t operate in a vacuum; everything you do
reflects upon the rest of the industry. If you don’t have the
pride in yourself and your profession to take the time for
certification, you should find another line of work.
Rethink your reliance on chlorine. With crypto
rates climbing every year and new evidence showing that it’s
more resistant to chlorine than previously thought (see news story about new CDC fecal response
guidelines), operators must accept that chlorine alone is no longer
enough. Research is ongoing, but UV has proven itself a capable
supplement to chlorine. Ozone is another option. Practices such as
adding fresh water daily, as Europeans do, also bear
Go green, or else. This isn’t
just a tree-hugging imperative. It’s a matter of survival. In
nearly every issue this year, we’ve carried stories about how
drought is affecting aquatics facilities. Like it or not, the
public sees aquatics as a waste of water. With energy prices
soaring, they’re sure to soon see them as a waste of
resources as well. Operators must get ahead of the curve on this
trend and start implementing green technology that makes facilities
as efficient as possible. That will get the public on our side, and
save a bundle to boot. You may not save the world, but you might
just save your job.