We had just opened a brand-new aquatics facility. Week one had come and gone with no major catastrophes.
Because our facility was an indoor wave pool, we felt it was very
important to enforce the “no floaties” rule. That said,
we did encourage weak or non-swimmers to use U.S. Coast
Guard-approved flotation devices or, as we say in the biz, life
jackets. Surprisingly this was turning into a problem for many of
As the aquatic supervisor, I had fielded many complaints regarding
the rule. I had to explain over and over again how dangerous
floaties, water wings, noodles, etc. could be in a standard pool,
let alone our wave pool, with kids who were not confident swimmers
crashing into the waves, each other and their floaties. Still,
families were not convinced that the rule was justified.
I knew the rule was valid, so I stuck to my guns.
Then a woman with three children stopped me on the pool deck and
thoroughly chewed me out. She had driven all the way here and her
children weren’t being allowed to use the wave pool because
they were afraid of the waves and needed their water wings to enjoy
the pool. The rule was ridiculous and she wanted her money
As I stood there on the pool deck, knowing I was right and she was
wrong, it dawned on me. Pull some life jackets from our swim lesson
stash and let the kids use them.
Clarity washed over me like the waves on our sandless beach. I
offered to let the woman borrow three of our life jackets. She
immediately calmed down and agreed. Once her children were safely
swimming in the pool, another parent asked to borrow one for their
child, then another. By the end of the day, I had gone to the store
to pick up a temporary life jacket bin to put on the pool
Not only did this solution provide patrons with an alternative to
the floatie rule, but it made our wave pool that much more safe.