Navy Base Ventura County’s MWR exists for the soldiers who serve this nation and their families. The pools are in Port Hueneme and Point Mugu, and both aim to be training centers for soldiers and places where they can go with their families to relax, have fun and broaden their aquatic experience.
The main focus “is always our soldiers and making sure they are provided with a well-equipped facility to train in,” says aquatics manager Molly McCarthy. She adds that in the past few years, the goal has been to extend the programs to the surrounding community as well.
The agency has had the biggest success with summer swim lessons, according to McCarthy. Initially, lessons were open only to those in the military, but recently communities surrounding the bases have been given access to the pools and aquatics programs. “We’re very fortunate to have many patrons come due to word-of-mouth references,” she notes.
But marketing goes beyond testimonials. MWR advertises via large banners, brochures, local papers and special events. Last Halloween was the first annual “Haunted Swamp,” and the entire community was invited to the festivities.
Water safety is among the highest priorities of MWR. “We feel that water safety education is crucial in the success of all our patrons,” McCarthy says. “When they leave our facilities, we want them to feel competent in all other forms of water, such as the ocean, lakes and backyard pools.”
All the lifeguards and water safety instructors are certified yearly. Staff meetings are held monthly along with regular in-service training, and unannounced mock drownings occur during hours for on-duty guards.
A recent challenge for MWR aquatics operators has been to become more environmentally friendly. Less than five years ago the Point Mugu facility was on the brink of shutting down because of low attendance and poorly maintained programs and amenities. New leadership and a dedicated commitment to improvement has since turned things around, McCarthy says.
Before the end of the year, the agency is expected to complete a project installing solar panels to heat the pools. Additionally, each pool will have an
adequate number of pool covers to insulate them and help save on chemical costs.
“Operators show a clear commitment to doing as much as possible for the military community and surrounding locales with the resources provided.”
Point Mugu facility: 25-meter outdoor pool and a kiddie pool; Port Hueneme facility: a 25-yard-by-50-meter outdoor pool and a kiddie pool.
Learn-to-swim, learn-to-dive, lifesaving, water fitness, aquatic therapy, competitive swimming, Masters swimming, water polo, scuba/snorkeling, surfing, adaptive aquatics.