Sunday, June 12, 2011

Visualization of CDC Drowning Statistics by State (Map)

I love data, so I was thrilled to find that the CDC database includes a map-making feature. Check out the visualization I made with the drowning death rates between 2000-2006:

drowning statistics by state

Can you draw any conclusions from the map? It looks like Florida and states bordering the Mississippi River have higher rates, possibly because of their access to large bodies of water. That’s all speculation of course. What do you think?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Voluntary Recall of One Million Pool Drain Covers

pool drain cover recall

On May 26, 2011, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall that now includes pool and spa drain covers from 10 different manufacturers.

The recalled drain covers were incorrectly rated to handle the flow of water through the cover, which could pose a possible entrapment hazard to swimmers and bathers. So far there have been no reported incidents or injuries.

Aquatics International is on top of the story, and will continue to provide updates as the story develops. Check out their article: CPSC Issues Massive Drain Cover Recall or visit their Drain Cover Recall Roundup (yeehaw!)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Jetlev Flyer: Water Jetpack Adds New Dimension To Watersports

jetlev flyer water jetpack

I just saw the Jetlev Flyer (aka water jetpack) on the Discovery Channel. This thing looks like a lot of fun! It works just like you think it should, pushing the pilot airborne with huge jets of water.

jetlev flyer water jetpack

Each stream of water has a lifting force of 400-500 pounds, which is enough to lift this dude sky high. The only problem: you need to stay attached to a rubber hose that supplies the water to the pack. You can fly anywhere as long as you keep your pump raft in tow.

jetlev flyer water jetpack

The promotional video (below) has everything: fast music, dynamic camera movements, and a chick in a bikini who doesn’t actually ride the jetpack in the video.

jetlev flyer water jetpack

The Jetlev Flyer can be yours for the low low MSRP of 129,000 euro ($179,000).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

World’s Longest Water Coaster, “Wildebeest” Featured On National Geographic Channel

wildebeest water coaster holiday world

The Wildebeest, the world’s longest water coaster, was recently featured on National Geographic Channel’s World’s Toughest Fixes. No, the ride wasn’t broken, but the show covered its complicated construction process.

wildebeest water coaster holiday world

First, let me bring you up to speed. If you thought water rides only flow downhill, welcome to the 21st century of water coasters! A water coaster is a water ride that provides descents and ascents powered by water jets, conveyor belts, and more recently: linear induction motors (think bullet train magnets).

The Wildebeest at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana, is a “HydroMagnetic Rocket” ride that utilizes a linear induction motor. It is also the longest water coaster, at 1/3 mile (1,710 feet).

Park president, Will Koch, is quoted on the Holiday World website:

“An alternating magnetic field beneath the slide surface propels the rafts, pushing them rapidly and smoothly uphill. LIM technology is a popular feature in some steel roller coasters; it

Thursday, October 7, 2010

There’s A Gator In The Pool (And It’s Not Lochte)

alligator in swimming pool

Retired swim coach, Bill Stetson, went to his local swim and tennis club for his typical early morning workout in Hilton Head. This is what he found.

alligator in swimming pool

alligator in swimming pool

alligator in swimming pool

alligator in swimming pool

alligator in swimming pool

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pool Aeration With Watercannons

pool aeration with watercannons

I was surfing around Twitter the other day, when I saw the name @Watercannons with a curious looking thumbnail picture. Watercannons? Well, there really is no other way to describe these cannons shooting jets of water high above swimming pools. But I had never seen such a thing before! What are they, and what do they do?

pool aeration with watercannons

I contacted Chris Ostling, the owner of Living Waters Aeration, to get some more information on what these things are and why people use them.

Watercannons are portable swimming pool aerators, and basically the jets of water simulate what naturally occurs in ocean waves, waterfalls, and raindrops. The surface area of the water is increased when it is sprayed into two streams of droplets. The increased surface area allows for more UV light penetration, oxygenation, and evaporation through contact with the air.

pool aeration with watercannons

Evaporation will decrease the pool temperature (the same way sweating cools you off), and the increased UV light penetration and oxygenation have additional benefits that Chris explained in an email to me:

“The aeration process will reduce disease causing bacteria. Many bacteria are strict anaerobes and require a nutrient broth for survival and practically all pathogens are killed by ultraviolet light, which the sun emits. Also aerobic bacteria feed on pathogenic bacteria. Oxygenating the water body, creates an environment where aerobic bacteria thrive raising the pH and exposing pathogenic bacteria to sunlight then these pathogens are weakened or killed.”

Watercannons have been used by the U.S. Olympic Committee at training pools in Greece and Beijing, and even on military bases (especially in places where stagnant water gets uncomfortably warm).

Below is the rest of my email interview with the owner of Living Waters Aeration, Chris Ostling:

What are some other ways people have tried to aerate their pools, and why is the Watercannon a better method?

Some pools have built in aeration systems. Sometimes it will be something as simple as a PVC pipe drilled full of holes along the edge or gutter. Other times, it is some type of homemade pumping device that barely spits out any water. There are also chillers and reverse heat pumps on the market, but they are not portable and are expensive. Any type of fountain or waterfall will help reduce temperatures. Our units are both portable. They can be set up at night and stored out of sight before the pool opens the next day.

I read on your website “It reduces undesirable 92-96 degree temperatures to a more refreshing and controlled 80-82. Prepare for those important swim meets. . .” How long does it take to drop the temperature like this before a swim meet?

Most facilities use the Watercannon at night, running it 6-8 hours every night. It is not really something you just use when you need it the day before a swim meet. On average it will cool a commercial pool 10-12 degrees.

We do have some pools that use it in the daytime though. The kids will even boo when the lifeguard turns it off.

Is it safe for kids to play around, or are the water jets too powerful?

We only sell to commercial supervised pools. Lifeguards or pool managers operate the Watercannon.

It has a triple suction, using VGB approved inlets. The force of the water coming out is 110-160 gallons per minute. We need that force to get the water as high as we can above the pool.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Water Cube Water Park Opens August 8th

water cube water park

China’s National Aquatic Center will reopen after the completion of a nine-month construction project, adding a 10,000 square meter water park to the “Water Cube.” With slides towering 23 meters over the multiple pools below, the facility that once held the dramatic aquatic events of the 2008 Olympics will now be known as the country’s most advanced aquatic amusement park (source).

water cube water park

As for attractions: “The water park has wave pools in the drift region in the eastern part and a cyclone simulation section with 11 water slides in the western part” (source).

The park also has an Aqua Loop (example) which is a water slide that actually takes riders upside down on a slightly skewed inverted loop.

As much fun as the park looks, I can’t help but think “NOOOOOOO WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO IT!!??” How can you turn the most amazing aquatic sport facility in the world into a water park?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

First Ever LEGOLAND

LEGOLAND water park

Imagination will certainly flow this June, as LEGOLAND California Resort will debut the first and only LEGOLAND Water Park.

LEGOLAND water park

According to the website (via @pentairpool), the water park will feature a 45-foot-tall tower, several water slides, more than 20 LEGO models, and a Build-A-Raft river

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Water Safety Organizations Join Forces For ‘Largest Swimming Lesson’ World Record

World's Largest Swimming Lesson

Press Release in PDF format

Overland Park, KS,

Monday, March 1, 2010

Certified Pool/Spa Operators (CPO) Midwest Course Schedule

The National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) is offering two-day certification courses that, upon completion, will allow you to register as a certified Pool/Spa Operator. Participants will be trained in chemical treatment, filtration, and mechanical system operation and maintenance in an academic-based curriculum.

Anyone who works in or around aquatics facilities should consider getting certified – and some employers require the certification! Getting certified is the best way to stay up to date, efficient, and safe. The cost is $340, and includes materials, textbook, examination, five year certification and a subscription to the CPO Newsletter.

Get more information from the Ohio Aquatic Council online, and click here for courses available in the Midwest.

March 11-12 Chicago, IL – NIU Branch Campus, Naperville
March 25-26 Cleveland, OH – Radisson Inn, Cleveland Airport
April 8-9 Toledo, OH – University of Toledo Recreation Center

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