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Committee looks for ways to enhance OP pool experience

A lifeguard keeps an eye on swimmers at the Yacht Club pool

By Cindy Hoffman, Staff Writer

(June 29, 2023) Ocean Pines recently introduced a new couples membership to the community pools and it has paid off.  Funds from membership have increased from $249,460 last May to $270,780 in May 2023.

“While we saw a reduction in the number of family members, enough couples signed up, which brought in more money,” Gary Miller, the chair of the Aquatics Advisory Committee said.

This was just one of the suggestions by the Aquatics Advisory Committee that has come to fruition.

  During its June committee meeting, the members continued to look at ways the pool experience in Ocean Pines can be improved. Ocean Pines has five pools with one indoor pool open year-round.

The committee recently requested moving some of the indoor pool classes to the outdoor pools during the summer, but that was rejected because of the lifeguard shortage.

The committee discussed options for higher pool fees for short-term renters. Currently, short-term renters pay the same price as residents.

They also discussed the lifeguard shortage and considered various options for recruiting and retaining guards, including recruiting bonuses, and after-hours events for the guards.

One of the problems is that people don’t think of lifeguarding as a career path, said Steve Ransdell, a member of the committee. He suggested connecting guards to other public safety career fields such as police, EMT, fire, and Beach Patrol to show that it is a job that can lead to a career.

One option they considered was outsourcing the guards. But Nancy Radke, a former lifeguard and member of the committee, said she did not recommend this because Ocean Pines should have control of the skill level of those hired.

They also discussed ideas for benefits for swim club members, including twilight swims, discounts on guest passes and being able to go to the front of the line on busy days.

The committee will be developing an end-of-year report for the board that will include recommendations for next year.