Understanding Drowning Detection Systems and their benefits

We frequently get asked to explain what the various types of drowning detection systems are and how they work.

So, to try and help answer – described below are some of the main systems available in the market and their key features. Drowning Detection Systems (DDS) are also referred to as ‘technology driven systems or devices available to help protect swimmers’.

There are 4 general types:

Underwater CCTV Cameras

Providing additional essential vision to lifeguards through underwater viewing such as Poolview

These systems are a passive aid which require the Lifeguard to interact with in a pro-active way as part of their 10:20 scan. This system does not include “automatic drowning detection" software.

Poolview™ - Safer Swimming System

Computer INTELLIGENT System for the detection of drowning accidents

This system tracks swimmer activity and can trigger a sequence and a variety of alarm levels depending on its configuration. Manufacturers include Poolview™, SwimEye™, AngelEye and Poseidon

These software driven detection systems all use “computer intelligence” at the core of their capability.

Poolview Plus™ operates in a different way from the other systems as it is an interactive system, designed for the Lifeguards and First Responders and combines architecture, software, algorithms and methods for triggering an alert before activating a full alarm and in many peoples opinion is the most accurate, robust and dependable system available today.

Poolview Plus™

Wristbands with software aided monitoring and automatic alarms

These detect when wristbands worn by swimmers remain below a certain depth over a pre-determined time e.g. SenTag, BlueFox

Swimmers are monitored via the wristbands which contain sensor and worn at all times in the swimming facility. Sensitive receivers in the pool raises an alarm if a potential drowning is taking place.


Personal Independent Wristband Protection

These are independent and stand alone wearable technology devices – worn by individuals, BlueFox ST1 recognises the depth you are swimming in and measures the time you spending below a certain depth.

Once you exceed the preset duration it will release a balloon with a loud siren to the water surface. This noisy alarm will attract the attention of all people within the vicinity. 

No installation of any sort is required e.g. BlueFox ST1

BlueFox ST1

Technology is moving fast..............

Technology and installation issues have moved forward greatly since the publication of a “Drowning Detection System Briefing Note” by Sport England in 2011  The Leisure Industry is fast accepting that technology not only plays a key role in enhancing swimmer safety, but also supporting flexibility and efficiencies with staffing rotations, swimming pool timetables and systems of work. 

By embracing technology, there are opportunities to both increase swimmer safety and manage your lifeguarding resource more efficiently and effectively. This will be recognised and reconciled within each pools bespoke Risk Assessment.

Operators are generally much more open to incorporating technology within their Standard Operating Procedures and fully understand the benefits. Gone are the physical constraints which once proved to be an obstacle, such as moving floors and bulk heads etc.

Robin McGloughlin, Business Development Director at Poolview explains “we have the ability to install Drowning Detection Systems into ANY pool, no matter what shape, finish or size without the need to drain the pool or interfere with normal day to day swimming programmes.  Currently around 75% of our installations would be retro-fit i.e. after the pool is filled and open.  Rest assured, we will offer and provide the perfect solution for your individual pool, programme, staffing ethos and environment.”

It is preferable to incorporate some infrastructure into the basic building design at an early stage rather than later when costs can very quickly escalate when “variation orders” are made.

Poolview Limited, are recognised as “industry experts” within this field and are in the position to supply the complete range of solutions for any pool, working closely with your management team to ensure seamless integration and support.

For more information visit http://www.poolview.co.uk/ or call +44 (0)77 6874 6789.