Emily Plurkowski

1 Hire lifeguards. Alexa Pritchard, recreation superintendent for city of Roseville, Calif. Parks, Recreation and Libraries Department, holds a three-hour staff assessment that includes a group interview and personality profile. New guards must show they can swim 500 feet and tread water with a brick. They’re then rated on strokes and run through four stations — passive, active, emergency, spinal and CPR — to demonstrate their rescue readiness. New hires also must be finger printed, drug screened and fill out the proper paperwork.

2 Market season passes. Janel Twehous, recreation supervisor of aquatics and special events for Columbia, Mo., recommends that managers have all their summer promotions and season passes ready for spring break — with discounts for early buys.

3 Prepare and update manuals. Every year, managers learn something new or regulations change. That should all be documented. Additionally, this is when Twehous makes sure all of her manuals are up to date.

4 Do chemical bids. In March, Adam Peper, aquatic manager for The Pointe at Ballwin Commons in Ballwin, Mo., goes through his chemical bids for the year. Getting an early start helps you make sure you’re getting the best product and service — at the right price. “We shop pretty hard to find the best fit,” he says.