National Aquatic Industry Safety Awards
Excellence in Supervision
Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre
Nominated By:
Contact Details
180 Victoria Road

Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre is owned by the City of Darebin and managed by YMCA Victoria. The Centre was opened in 1955 as a training pool for the 1956 olympics and boast the following facilities:
- 50m heated outdoor pool
- 25m indoor pool
- Learn to swim pool
- Outdoor 25m leisure pool
- Outdoor toddler pool
- Health club
- Group Fitness room
- Wellness Room
- Creche

The facility has undergone a number of upgrades in its rich history, and will be undergoing a major redevelopment in the near future.


Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre is located in a mulciplinity where the predicted growth is set to rise 70,000 in the next 21 years. 160,000 to 230,000 by 2040. From the 2016 census report, it was stated that 40% of homes in the City of Darebin do not speak English as the first language, which has made NARC rethink about how communicate water safety to patrons and be innovative in this space. This has included installing multi lingual signage around pool deck and investigate other ways of communicating water safety messaging.

Future Plans

In our Watch Around Water Policy review we are investigating having multilingual Watch Around Water messaging over our PA system. This will address our biggest barrier of some famalies and patrons that do not speak English or do not have English as their first language.

What it means

It would mean so much for the whole centre to be recognised for Excellence in Supervision. The iniatives we have undertaken have not just involved lifeguards, but has been a full centre effort to provide a great level of supervison to the community. On top of this, it would also be great to communicate this throughout the centre, so that families that enter the facility to use the aquatic facilities, know they are using facilities that have high supervision, and that if they abide by the policies, the aquatic risks that they face around water will dramatically decrease.

Criteria 1

Describe how the nominee has provided a contribution to their community / industry in Supervision

In the past 18 months, Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre has been at the forefront of industry leading supervision processes. This has involved a complete overhaul of our deployment plan, to include changes in the environment and user profiles of the facility.
This involves quarterly reviews of our deployment plan, and having senior lifeguards be involved in the review process to gain valuable feedback on how this fits into their supervision role.

Criteria 2

Describe (and provide evidence) of improvements and/or achievements made in Supervision over the past 12-18 months

One of Northcote’s major achievents is an increased commitment to the Watch Around Water program. Over the past 18 months we have dramatically increased our awareness around this program by improving signage (as per photos), and hosting events such as ‘Water Safety Month’ where a focus on Watch Around Water conversations were recorded, not only from a lifeguard perspective, but also included the conversations customer service staff and management were having with parents.

Throughout this month there was a 225% increase on Watch Around Water conversations at front of house based on a pre-Water Safety Month audit, and a post-Water Safety Month audit. Included in this month was a ‘Pledge banner’ where patrons of the centre could pledge there commitment to watch around water by signing the banner. This proved extemeely popular with a large amount of parents, childen and patrons taking the pledge (as seen in photo below).

We also have regular hourly announcements over our PA system reminding parents of our Watch Around Water policy. These announcements have proven successful with patrons giving feedback on these announcements.

We have also empowered the parents to wristband their own child through wristband stations located on pool deck.

Criteria 3

Describe how the nominee has shown commitment to aquatic safety through Supervision

Northcote have been able to create ‘organic’ engaging social media posts that outline the dangers of the aquatic environment and distractions that we encounter when we are on pool deck from a parent’s perspective, and a lifegaurd’s perpective.

Through the regular deployment reviews, a decision to decrease the 1:80 to 1:60 ratios of our pools was made. We believed the physical barriers around our pool compared to our ratios were not sufficient and decreased our indoor 25m pool and outdoor 25m pool ratios from 1:80 to 1:60.

On top of this, we have gone above and beyond ‘minimum requirements’ as a lifeguard. We have empowered our Duty Managers to complete Emergency Response Training (ERT) for staff of Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre which has seen a dramatic increase in these five minute sessions being completed. When they were first introduced eight months ago, we were only completing 15-20 a month. In the past three months we have respectively completed 62,56 and 59 ERTs which include training on aquatic emergencies.

Criteria 4

Describe what barriers have been encountered by the nominee in Supervision and how have they been overcome

Barriers we have overcome in the past 18 months are parents regularly not actively supervising children and being within arm’s reach, we have counteracted this by providing conflict resolution training to our lifeguards and customer service officers to give them the confidence to have those difficult conversations with parents and instill an aquatic safe culture into the facility. Throughout the Water Safety Month, lifeguards had over 100 conversations on pool deck which was supported by having the Duty Manager come out and cover while they had these conversations.

Other barriers we have faced is the diversity of patrons and families that enter the facility and the inability to understand English. See below how we are addressing this into the future.