From the minute you open the gates in the morning, it’s show time, and your waterpark is the star.
Everything must always look its best while ensuring the highest
level of safety and security. But waterparks are complex, highly
engineered structures and the moving water, chemicals, sunlight and
people of varying sizes — all climbing, sliding, jumping and
hanging — takes its toll.
To that end, it’s no mystery that good maintenance practices
will extend a waterpark’s life. But what does an ideal
maintenance program look like?
In general, maintenance programs include inspections and
preventive strategies carried out in an organized fashion on a
regular basis. Tasks might be daily, weekly or once a season.
However, to truly ensure that your waterpark maintains its
structural integrity, operational safety and visual appeal for many
years, you’ll want a more comprehensive preventive
maintenance program that accounts for the fact that different
water-play features have different maintenance requirements and
includes protocols for the furniture, rafts, tubes, shade
structures, and various other supplies and equipment necessary to
keep things running.
Begin at the beginning
The best comprehensive preventive maintenance programs begin during
the design and construction phase of the waterpark. Actively
thinking about and planning the preventive maintenance program from
the very beginning makes the job easier in the long run, and helps
During the design phase, material selection is perhaps the most
critical factor in determining long-term maintenance requirements
and costs. The key is to balance cost with appearance, strength and
At first it might be easy to gravitate toward stainless steel for
structural strength and corrosion resistance; however, stainless
steel prices have increased on average 15 percent since 2008. For
that reason, galvanized mild steel and fiberglass remain the
primary materials of choice for waterpark construction.
Protecting against corrosion also requires the proper preparation
of the building materials. Metal welds should use zinc anode rods,
and before finishing, all steel components should be sand-blasted
clean. This ensures optimal and galvanization subsequent to paint
bonding. Ultimately, when completed, the metal components should
have four layers of protection — zinc galvanization, two
primer paint layers and the theme paint — between it and the
Once equipment is ready to go, take care to avoid paint damage
during construction. Chipped paint cannot protect against
corrosion, so create a detailed site materials management plan to
keep things organized.
That said, unfortunately, even those best-laid plans can’t
prevent all paint damage, so establish a paint touch-up procedure
from the start. Keep a log of paint damage. Using the assembly
diagrams, indicate the component with the damage, the paint color
and the type of damage — chip, scratch, thin spot, and the
like. Once the structure is assembled, go back and touch up all
paint damages. Make sure to use the same paint used by the
Methodical and thorough inspections are the key to effective
preventive maintenance programs, and using detailed inspection
checklists turns maintenance activities into preventive maintenance
Develop a detailed checklist specific to your waterpark and
organize it by structure. Be sure to include the bathrooms,
cabanas, locker rooms and other ancillary areas. These may be the
first areas your guests experience and they are just as important
as your water-play structures. If guests see messy or broken
bathrooms, they’re going suspect the cleanliness of your
water and may not come back.
Once you’ve established a checklist, use it for each
inspection, and require the inspector and the maintenance director
to sign off after completing the inspection. Store completed
checklists in a logbook, updated for each year, and be sure to
modify your list as necessary so it
With a comprehensive and all-inclusive routine inspections program
in place, you and your staff will know the status of even a small
issue, and you can quickly take care of it before it grows into a
You might also want to set up a regular survey or feedback method
operating staff, including lifeguards, concessionaires and
custodial workers. As they interact with the facility and guests
each day, they will see and hear things you won’t, and can
provide you with excellent insights.
Finally, it’s also a good idea to hire a consultant to do an
independent audit once a year. Ideally, this should be done just
after closing. The results of this inspection will be helpful for
setting the maintenance budget for the next season.