3 August 2023

Everywhere we look, technology is a part of everyday life; self-service checkouts, driverless cars, voice recognition devices, face/iris recognition systems, video assistant referees, lifesaving drones, and much more. Technology entered the world of swimming pools over twenty years ago and has developed and expanded more recently. Several systems are now available in the UK and Ireland, designed to support lifeguards, improve safety, and recognise someone who has got into difficulty in the water.  

Current guidance for technology in swimming pools

Health and Safety Executive publication - Health and Safety in Swimming Pools - states the following and can be found here. 

Using technology to aid observation

A wide range of devices and systems are available to help lifeguards observe a pool. Equipment extends from convex mirrors that increase the field of view where there are small obstructions to active computerised detection that will identify a body on the pool basin floor. 

While these technologies have limitations, they have helped lifeguards identify potential drowning accidents they had not observed.  

These systems are not intended to reduce observation and monitoring by lifeguards unless a suitable and sufficient risk assessment demonstrates that you can maintain at least the same level of risk control provided by a lifeguard.

RLSS UK supports using technology within commercial/public swimming pools to assist lifeguards in monitoring and supervising swimming pool users, intercept incidents of swimmers in ill health, and ultimately prevent drownings.

Swimming pool operators using or considering using swimming pool technology should refer to the current industry guidance available here

When choosing to use technology, RLSS UK advises operators to:

  • Carefully consider systems available to ensure any system chosen is fit for purpose and suitable for the swimming pool facilities and the environment. 
  • Review and update risk assessments regarding swimming pool supervision. 
  • Complete Lifeguard Zone Visibility Tests to ensure all swimming pool areas can be clearly supervised.
  • Review and update Pool Safety Operating Procedures regarding swimming pool supervision and dealing with swimming pool emergencies. 
  • Ensure procedures and systems are in place for times when technology fails and cannot be used. 
  • Provide training in line with the manufacturer's guidance for all employees that will use the system, check competency before use and ongoing to ensure employees are using the technology system correctly. 

Technology systems

Systems currently fall into the following categories:

Swimmer behaviour analysis and casualty recognition systems 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used in swimming pools. Systems with AI monitor swimmer behaviours through cameras that are overhead, underwater or a combination of both. The system learns swimmer patterns and continually assesses risk for swimmers in the pool to identify and alert when someone is in difficulty. 

Alerts can be via a monitor screen, tablet or smartwatch and will show the lifeguard where the swimmer is located. 

Submersion detection systems (also known as drowning detection systems) 

Detection systems have cameras installed either in the swimming pool, overhead or a combination of both. The cameras and computer software monitor activity and track swimmers in order to recognise when a swimmer is submerged for a period of time. It will then raise an alarm to indicate to a lifeguard that someone needs immediate assistance. 

These systems vary, from spotting (identifying) a swimmer in difficulty to spotting (identifying) a swimmer when they are motionless on or under the water, including at the bottom of the pool. 

These systems may have a screen showing where the swimmer in difficulty is located in the swimming pool. 

Personal wearable drowning detection systems 

Swimmers wear a wristband or other device with sensors that monitor their movement in the swimming pool. A sensor will detect a period of static movement for a prolonged period under the water and raise an alarm to indicate to a lifeguard that someone needs immediate assistance. Some systems sound an alarm when the device passes below a certain water depth and does not return to the surface after a period. 

These systems rely on the swimmers wearing the personal detection device throughout the use of the swimming pool(s). 

Underwater and overhead cameras 

These systems include underwater and overhead cameras that provide lifeguards with a view of part or the whole of their zone. These systems frequently get used for providing lifeguards visibility of blind spots or areas they cannot physically see, for example, behind a water feature or deep water where there is excessive glare on the surface. 

Camera CCTV Systems tend to be linked to a screen that the lifeguard can view when lifeguarding. The screen will give the lifeguard a view of part or all of their zone. These systems do not raise alarms automatically. 


Systems available in the UK and Ireland

Lynxight

RLSS UK is proud to be working with Lynxight to provide an innovative and affordable new solution for pool risks in the UK and Ireland, making swimming pools even safer for everyone. 

The Lynxight assisted lifeguard technology combines specialist Artificial Intelligence (AI) software and swimmer behaviour analysis with standard security cameras to deliver a complete real-time understanding of what is happening above and below the water, right to the lifeguard’s smartwatch -an impressive, smart and affordable way to enhance safety. 

RLSS UK worked with Lynxight to adapt the system to meet the stringent needs of UK pool operators, providing them with invaluable metrics to optimise swimming pool operations efficiently. These metrics include real-time insights into pool usage, swimmer numbers and detailed data for each lane or pool area. 

To find out more or book a demo, please click here  


Other systems are also available to provide support; you will find below information detailing an overview of the systems available, as provided by each manufacturer. 

Swimmer behaviour analysis and casualty recognition systems 

Lynxight

  • Uses Artificial Intelligence software 
  • Analyses swimmer behaviour
  • Alerts lifeguard of incident via Smartwatch
  • Utilises standard CCTV above water
  • Suitable for traditional competitive pools or leisure pools

EAVS

  • Alerts to inform lifeguard(s) of an incident
  • Monitor screens provided for surveillance
  • Cameras installed above and below the water
  • Suitable for traditional competitive pools or leisure pools
Submersion detection systems (also known as Drowning detection systems) 

Poolview Iris

  • Drowning detection
  • Monitor available for surveillance
  • Lifeguard alert on the monitor
  • Cameras fitted underwater
  • Suitable for all pools (without waves/moving water)

Poseidon

    

  • Drowning detection
  • Lifeguard alert
  • Personal device alert
  • Monitor for surveillance
  • Cameras located above the water
  • Cameras located underwater
  • Suitable for traditional competition pools
  • Suitable for leisure pools

Personal wearable drowning detection systems

Sentag 

    

  • Alerts to inform lifeguard(s) of an incident
  • Personal devices available for lifeguards
  • Suitable for traditional competitive pools or leisure pools

CCTV underwater and overhead cameras

Poolview

  • Monitor screens provided for surveillance
  • Cameras installed above and under the water
  • Suitable for traditional competitive pools or leisure pools