How to Ensure Safe Swimming in Resort Pools!

Written by: Mike Steltenpool; Jim’s Pool Care Newcastle

It’s coming to the end of summer and most of us have had a family holiday somewhere where there was a pool. It’s the Aussie way to have our holidays.
I have many fond memories as a kid going on holidays and swimming just about everywhere I could. It filled up the long summer days when you were a teenager.
Swimming down by the river after it rains and its flooding (don’t do this), catching a train in Sydney’s western suburbs all the way to Cronulla at 4am to go surfing, and most importantly, in backyard pools of my friends and mates, or the local pool. Remember the local pool? People everywhere and it smells when you went in.

What I remember most though as I got older and had kids of my own, were the holidays to the Gold Coast, Bali, Fiji and Hawaii. When I took the family away on holidays. The number one must have feature was the accommodation had to have a pool!

I bet you are the same and have similar memories too of pools & holidays. Did you ever pool hop? Go into other resorts and use a pool in a hotel you were not a guest, never!
How do you know the pool your swimming in, is safe? What makes a pool safe to swim in with the kids? This article is a short guide to help all responsible parents to know what to look for.
Swimming in public pools when on holidays.
What is a public swimming pool you may ask. Council pools and all pools in hotels, motels, resorts, caravan parks and holiday locations. These pools are governed by State government inspectors and all pool operators are required to be qualified and know how to operate a pool correctly to meet State Health guidelines. Guidelines are provided to prevent pools having elevated bacteria clusters, germs and algae that my cause swimmers (you, me & the kids) from getting gastrointestinal diseases which can lead to sickness, illness. The number one enemy of public pools is Giardia. It gives you diarrhea and can cause vomiting, dehydration, and in extreme cases a whole lot of problems. Turns a great holiday into a lousy holiday real quick.

Hence, the Health Codes, managed by Inspectors, outlines that all pools need Chlorine and the correct level in the water, always to protect us. The pool operators are required to check every morning and during the day.
What happens if they don’t check? What happens if equipment breaks down over night?
In the USA, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) used to send out a pool test strip for parents to use when they go on holidays. They were encouraged to take a test and log onto a national website and record their results. That way, parents could see which hotels & Resorts were letting parents down. We don’t have that here in Australia, but you can check yourself.
Here is a short common sense, guideline when holidays by the pool.
Clear Water: do not get a pool if the water is not crystal clear. If the pool is being tested, has chlorine, and the pool pump is working; it should be clear. I recently when to Hawaii and my hotel had 5 x pools. I did not swim in any of them the 10 x days I was on holidays. None were clear! And lot of people swimming.
Movement: the water should be moving. Most pools need the pool pump to make the chlorine dosing machine to work. Listen for a pool pump or observe water coming out of the jets
Feel the walls: slimy walls may indicate pool filtering problems and the PH is not correct
Test the water: buy yourself some test strips. Dip in the water and read the guide on the side of the test bottle. If there is no purple on the strip- then there is no chlorine. If the Ph part is red, means Ph is too high. So don’t swim in it.
Best time to swim is in the morning. The equipment has had all night to operate and fix the pool water. By the afternoon, everybody else is in the pool too! And of course, no one ever pee’s in the pool!
Have a great time around pools. Just have a think first! Happy Holidays


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