This is aquatics


State of the Industry

Each year Royal Life Saving Society – Australia produces the State of the Industry report to provide a comprehensive assessment of safety standards in aquatic facilities across Australia. Based on the results of Aquatic Facility Safety Assessments (AFSAs) conducted across Australia, the State of the Industry report provides the opportunity to benchmark the performance of the industry against the industry standard - Royal Life Saving’s Guidelines for Safe Pool Operation (GSPO).

RLS State of the Industry 2013The Aquatic Facility Safety Assessment
Risk management is an essential tool for the successful and continued operation of an aquatic or leisure facility. To assist facility managers in meeting their responsibilities to visitors and employees of their facilities, Royal Life Saving provides the Aquatic Facility Safety Assessment (AFSA), which is an independent and comprehensive assessment of the operations of
an aquatic facility.

The AFSA is based on the GSPO, Australian Standards and relevant State and Territory legislation. The AFSA is made up of:
• Onsite Safety Inspection Checklist
• Safety Score
• Safety Improvement Plan
• Observation & Recommendations

In line with the GSPO, the areas the AFSA covers are general operations, emergency procedures, record keeping, first aid, plant room operations and chemicals, facility design, supervision, programming and specific aquatic areas such as wave pools and diving towers. The AFSA provides recommendations for best practice for public safety, management and operation in aquatic facilities.

Key findings

  • Safety standards across the Australian aquatics industry declined in 2013 with mean compliance of 80.1%, compared with the five-year average of 83.2%.
  • In 2013, 92 aquatic facilities undertook theAquatic Facility Safety Assessment for the first time. This brought the total number of facilities assessed by Royal Life Saving since 2008 to 500.
  • Of the categories assessed, section 6 – Dive Pools and section 9 – Rivers reported the greatest variance to the five-year average with mean compliance 14.1% and 8.7% respectivelybelow the five-year average in 2013.
  • Section 12 – programs was the only section thatreported improvement in 2013 of 5.1% against the five-year average.
  • Based on results of Aquatic Facility Safety Assessments conducted in 2013, defibrillators may be found in as few as one in every four aquatic facilities across Australia.
  • Facilities assessed regularly report higher levels of compliance than those facilities assessed only once. The difference in mean compliance between those facilities assessed once and those assessed annually is 20.8%.


  • It is recommended facilities consider the availability of a defibrillator within their facilities given the benefits of early defibrillation in resuscitation.
  • It is recommended that facilities review existing signage strategies with the aim of improving communication of common hazards in aquatic facilities and promoting active parental supervision in support of lifeguards.
  • It is recommended that all facilities undertake an Aquatic Facility Safety Assessment annually to ensure continual improvement of management standards and practices as part of a strategy to reduce risk and prevent drowning at Australian aquatic facilities.