Tips to Get Water Park Operators Through the Busiest Time of Year

Mid-July. You’re sweating under the hot sun. You hear splashes and kids laughing down a water slide. You see more and more guests strutting through the gate. You’ve been working every day since late spring and you wouldn’t want to have it any other way.

We know. Being a water park operator in the middle of summer is hard work, and absolutely nobody is amused by downtime.

As the world’s biggest water park manufacturer, we have been helping our clients perform their best for over 40 years—answering their questions, understanding their needs, and fulfilling requests in all shapes and sizes. With so much knowledge, WhiteWater’s Performance Services Team would like to share some maintenance and support tips to get you through the busiest time of year.

Launching two inner tubes down water coaster

Stock up on your spare parts now—in the middle of the season

“During operations is the time to know what you need,” said WhiteWater’s Chief Experience Officer, Franceen Gonzales, who has decades of experience as an operator. “Buy while money is coming in. Avoid buying when everyone else is in the spring because inventories may be low when you need parts right before opening.”

Think about parts that need to be replaced most often and order extras and spares earlier than later, especially when the world is still suffering post-pandemic supply chain woes. Keep a small inventory of parts on site to avoid ride downtime.

There are four key aspects to running a slide. Basically, it’s water flow, water levels, the vehicle, and keeping the slide clean. If you don’t keep these things in mind, you can quickly get out of sync, and it’s an unsafe ride.

Think of the O&M manual as your friend

“I can’t emphasize enough,” said Kelly Wilkie, Performance Specialist who has seen a lot in her 16 years of after sales experience, “You need to have a copy of the equipment’s operation and maintenance manual handy.”

If you have an older slide and can’t find the manual, contact the manufacturer to request a copy. Smooth operations depend on you following this important document, especially when it comes to the next point…

Be diligent about daily checks and inspections

People walking a water slide

“To keep attractions running safely, you need to check the water flow, water levels, and slide cleanliness every day before the water is turned on. If the water flow or water levels are not correct, or if there is excess calcium build-up, it is not safe to operate,” said Performances Service Director, Harley Ensing. Each attraction has its own list of daily checks in the O&M manual. Make sure you run the slides with test riders to ensure that they perform correctly and safely. If you have an AquaLoop, follow the daily procedure outlined in the O&M to prevent tissues. If you have raft or inner tube rides, make sure the vehicles are properly inflated. If you have an AquaPlay unit, inspect the netting daily.

As well, check for signs of corrosion on slide supports, towers, and hardware. Performance Services Project Manager Sara Homme adds, “Have your maintenance team walk the slides on a set schedule looking for any chips, cracks, caulking issues, etc.”

Avoid wasting water and money—caulk correctly

Leaks might look small, but they add up, both financially and environmentally. That’s why it’s important to ensure that joints are caulked correctly AND with the right caulking, so Sikaflex-1A or equivalent. Here’s a pro tip from Performance Services Project Manager, Hanley Ishak, “3M’s Fast Cure 5200 is highly recommended if repairing mid-season.”

Take the time for training

As employees come and go, always make sure your attendants and lifeguards are trained and are knowledgeable on what makes a water slide run safely as per the O&M manual. Make sure they know when to shut the slide down if something is not right.

Even better: “Cross train people on your team. This will help you manage better during low-staffing times,” said Franceen.

Man and woman on blue inner tube going down giant yellow water slide flume

For your maintenance and support needs

Before you know it, autumn leaves will fall, and there will be other inspections and maintenance to perform to prepare for next year. At WhiteWater, we proudly stand behind our products. Whether before, during, or after the season, our Performance Services Team is here to help maximize the lifespan of your equipment and optimize the ride performance. Contact us for any parts and replacement, refurbishment, resurfacing, or inspection needs for your existing attractions.

Harmony Liau