August 2022
“Next generation Drowning Detection Technology will make pools even safer” says UK’s largest swim operator GLL

07 Jun 2022

Latest Assisted Lifeguarding Technology to be rolled out in 2022 as part of a major investment in swim safety.

GLL, the largest operator of swimming pools in the UK, will begin implementing the use of the latest Assisted Lifeguarding Technology (ALT) within its facilities from Spring 2022. It will be the first time a British leisure business has incorporated such technology into a nation-wide strategy, with the ambition of introducing ALT into all suitable pool settings within the next 10 years.

ALT is an advancement on previous Drowning Detection Systems or Automated Drowning Detection. The system and software technology is designed to assist lifeguards by constantly monitoring water-based activity, detecting swimmers in distress in submersion incidents and spot potential drownings and medical episodes - so assisting with the safe management of customers and reducing the risk of lifeguard human error.

GLL’s ‘Safer pools for everyone ‘ strategy brings together industry experts, safety best practice, new technology and big investment to make a ‘step change’ in swimming safety and provide the benchmark for the sector to follow.

Taking a ‘blended approach’ to lifeguarding, GLL’s use of ALT combines the benefits of both leading edge technology and human interaction. A bespoke training programme has been created, so ensuring that lifeguarding staff are competent and confident to be working alongside the technology.

The roll out will build on GLL’s historic use of early stage ALT and underwater CCTV in a number of its facilities, stretching back over 15 years. It is estimated that 10 GLL-operated pools will adopt the new system during 2022. Extensive trials and testing were conducted at Britannia Leisure Centre with commencement of the roll out at The Hive Leisure Centre, in Ely, Cambridgeshire which was future-proofed with the technology at design stage.

Following significant investigation, GLL has decided to install the UK-based Poolview system with Iris software. This product constantly monitors and assesses activity in the water, detects swimmers in distress and submersion incidents. Real time alerts are sent to poolside staff, who will then investigate any potential incident.

Chris Hebblewhite GLL Director of National Standards said:

“It’s quite shocking that the swimming industry has failed to embrace the technologies of the digital age to enhance safety in the same way that other sectors have."

“We decided we would not wait for someone else to do it – we would be the pioneers. Our move towards introducing ALT follows a huge amount of research and planning within our business and a great deal of discussion with our industry partners including the RLSS, UKActive and the British Standards Institute.”

“Our approach is that of ‘blended lifeguarding’ combining the use of both a physical lifeguard and ALT technology whose synergies maximise the benefits of both ways of working, resulting in safer pools, improved customer service and better engaged staff.”

GLL’s adoption of ALT technology within suitable leisure settings is – like its investment into app bookings - part of its wider digital strategy to embrace new technology to improve the efficiency and service it offers.

As well as retro fitting its pools where it can, GLL will work closely with council clients, architects and technology experts to ensure new builds are future proofed.

GLL runs operates over 130 pools nationally and has the UK’s largest learn to swim programme.


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