Water Safety Month: NSF and Independent Standards


Cities across the country celebrate Water Safety Month  by making swimming lessons more accessible and by working with communities to create safer habits in and around water.

In previous articles, we’ve highlighted the importance of standard practices to help prevent accidents, specifically around slip-resistance, best practices around water, considerations around lap-swimming concussions, and the importance of lifeguards. We will always strongly believe in teaching safe behaviors.

We also believe that mindfully implemented industry standards, codes and certifications are the front line of improving water safety. In fact, we’ve spent the past 4 years working with NSF to create a standard for aquatic surfacing (more on that soon). Through this work and conversations with aquatic designers and manufacturers, we fully believe that safety starts with creating a “standardized experience” for guests before facility doors even open.

So, what are these standards and what do they do? Let’s talk about it.

Is It Up to Standard?

When we talk about “standardized experience” we’re not talking about cookie-cutter experiences or facilities. We believe (and love!) that every aquatic space serves a unique audience and is designed within a unique environment.

Standards provide the industry with health and safety guidelines that have been tried, tested, and evaluated. These standards are proposed, discussed and tested by experts inside the industry as well as by independent professionals. As technology advances and different pain points arise, it’s these professionals who incite change, form task groups, and provide their expertise to keep technical guidelines up to date.

At their core, industry standards like the NSF-50/ANSI and ASTM provide a roadmap of tested and evaluated products for facility operators to choose from. Specific to aquatics, these standards take the risk and guesswork out of finding safe and durable products having to do with sanitation, filtering, and material quality.

The Difference Between a Standard and a Code

Standards are not codes. The Model Aquatic Health Code, for example, is self described as “ a voluntary guidance document based on science and best practices that can help local and state authorities and the aquatics sector make swimming and other water activities healthier and safer.” (x) We see here that code can be adopted and enacted by a regulatory agency or government.

The standard, in turn, will lay out acceptable criteria, technical definitions, and minimum requirements for the codes to work with.

Or, according to NSF International: “In a nutshell, a code tells you what you need to do and a standard tells you how to do it.” (x)

The Certification Process

Making a standard is an incredibly comprehensive undertaking and certifying products to fit a standard is an especially rigorous part of the process. When NSF certifies a product, the inspection begins with an objective review of the entire manufacturing process, including the product formulation, product production, and a facility inspection. The product will also go through an impartial process that tests the product specifically to the standard’s requirements.

Therefore, when a product is NSF certified, it takes the guesswork and risk away from the operator by providing a product that puts public health and safety at the very forefront. Manufacturers also benefit from the increased credibility around their product and remain accountable to a national standard.

And most importantly, the public benefits by having a standardized safety experience, providing the ability to focus on individual action (like learning to swim!) and confidence to trust the water they’re wading into.

Designing Tropical Getaways in the North: Bamboo Bay

Bamboo Bay - Shoreview Community Center | Shoreview, MN

Bamboo Bay - Shoreview Community Center | Shoreview, MN

In 1990, the City of Shoreview, MN opened the Shoreview Community Center, complete with the Indoor Tropics Waterpark to provide residents with a beachy, winter getaway.

Over the years, the community center has expanded its fitness and wellness centers to better serve the needs of the community. More recently, working with BWBR Architects, the city made further additions to the Indoor Tropics Waterpark with a state-of-the-art children’s aquatic play area called Bamboo Bay.

A Growing Solution

The city’s waterpark renovation began with retrofitting the existing Indoor Tropics Waterpark pool deck in late 2018. Shoreview wanted to renovate the existing deck with an updated design, so they chose Life Floor in sandy shades and a natural Slate texture to reflect the tropical beachside theme of the park. Guests and staff immediately recognized the additional comfort and safety Life Floor provided, especially compared to the newly refinished epoxy floor in the locker rooms.

“Once we compared how well Life Floor worked, it was a big no-brainer,” Diana Buck, Aquatic Manager, recounted. “Especially with the locker rooms—we originally had epoxy, and as soon as we were done with the floors, we knew we should have put Life Floor in there.”

With Life Floor performing so well on the pool deck to reduce injuries and please guests, the city moved forward with the decision to add Life Floor to the locker rooms as soon as possible. “Adding Life Floor to the locker rooms was something a lot of people noticed right away: ‘Oh great, you got rid of the slippery floor!’” Buck noted once Life Floor had been installed.


The build-out for Bamboo Bay, the multi-level spray structure expansion, was completed a few months after in early 2019. The city again chose Life Floor to cover the entire surrounding deck of the structure and the nearby locker rooms. In a recent interview, Buck expressed that she couldn’t be more thrilled with Life Floor as a solution to safer walkways and more comfortable standing areas for kids and her staff.

“It’s definitely a safer product and very obviously reduces slip and falls,” said Buck. “It’s very nice for the employees too because it helps reduce the aches and pains from standing. We get a lot of comments from our members who have been here since the building opened. They’re the people who say, ‘It’s the best thing ever!’ and ‘Thanks for doing this!’”

Shoreview-Bamboo-Bay-1 Web.jpg

A special thank you to Diana Buck and the City of Shoreview for your thoughts and experiences, we love being part of this local waterpark!

Designing A Memorable Family Vacation: Lake George RV Park

Photography Credit: Aquatic Design & Engineering

Photography Credit: Aquatic Design & Engineering

Up in the Adirondack Mountains, Lake George RV Park creates a vacation experience for the entire family, with 120-acres for campers to enjoy. Last summer, the park expanded their offerings with Cascade Cove: an outdoor pool complex designed by Aquatic Design & Engineering. Cascade Cove features a resort pool, spa pool, and a unique lily pad splash park and play structure.

10 Years in the Making

“It feels like I’ve been spending most of my life on this water park,” said Dave King, CEO & President of Lake George RV Park. “I spent 10 years planning it and 2 years building it. I spoke to a lot of operators who have built spray grounds in the last 5-10 years. All of them, when I asked, said if they had to do it over, would have started with a soft flooring system to begin with.”

He also noted that many of the operators who’d started with concrete pads were in the process of adding safety surfacing. “Adding soft flooring cuts down significantly on the minor incidents that occur and are reported during guest hours. We wanted to avoid these incidents from the very beginning.”

Between Dave King’s research and Aquatic Design & Engineering’s expertise in the field, they selected Life Floor to prevent accidents, add comfort, and create a splash pad design integrated with the surrounding nature.

Photography Credit: Aquatic Design & Engineering

Photography Credit: Aquatic Design & Engineering

Designing A Hopping Good Time

“When we started the design of the flooring for the interactive water feature at Lake George RV Park, we wanted to incorporate the character of the surrounding Adirondack Mountains,” said Josh Martin of Aquatic Design & Engineering. “Using Life Floor tiles gave us the flexibility to create a fun and whimsical lily pad design that embodied summertime and the natural beauty that guests would expect to see in this picturesque location.”

As a family destination, the water park was especially designed with inter-generational comfort in mind. “We cater to families with young children and the flooring is very beneficial to the young ones who crawl on it,” noted King. “We picked Life Floor for the durability,  the aesthetic, the maintenance... people really enjoy the lily pad theme from above.” Aside from the waterslide and play structure, the resort pool has a beach entry and ADA handrail, which allows guests of all ages and abilities to enjoy the water. The clover shaped spa’s unique design also allows up to 40 guests at a time.

It was a true pleasure being part of this aquatic expansion and we look forward to hearing about the busy summer season filled with delighted guests!

A special thank you to Dave King and Josh Martin for sharing their thoughts and expertise.

Photography credit: Aquatic Design & Engineering

Photography credit: Aquatic Design & Engineering

10 Things You Won’t BELIEVE You Can Do With Life Floor

The intrepid Life Hacker Will Want To Start With A Good Color Range

The intrepid Life Hacker Will Want To Start With A Good Color Range

2019 is all about the Product Hack: How can you use everyday items in astonishing and unexpected ways. If you’re anything like us then you probably have RACKS on RACKS of impervious, slip-resistant, impact cushioned pool tile just covering every inch of your office. We’re here to help with some Hot Tips for your cool floor:

10. Makeup Application

The Ripple 2.0 Texture Will Help Your Look Leave Its Mark

The Ripple 2.0 Texture Will Help Your Look Leave Its Mark

Life Floor is all about clean and colorful looks. Our impervious, non-porous make-up applicator adds industry leading texture to your make-up routine, which won’t fall apart on you as the day drags on. It’s easy-to-clean and massaging texture also won’t absorb any of your expensive products.

9. DeskMat

Blanket not included

Blanket not included

A rested mind is a more creative mind. No need for a back-up pillow; if you’re falling asleep at your desk, Life Floor’s cushioned desk mats are a non-abrasive way to drift off to dreamland. Bonus: easy drool clean up!

8. Stress… Ball?

Helping you get on a more even  Euclidean plane

Helping you get on a more even Euclidean plane

Sometimes you’re falling apart, and that’s when you need Life Floor in hand. Squeezing a Life Floor tile relieves stress, and gives you more traction for a better grip on your day.

Sure it’s not actually a ball and more of a flat disk, but that’s just part of its charm!

7. Custom Dinnerware

Spoons give you the inside scoop on meals

Spoons give you the inside scoop on meals

Who said pool tile couldn’t be romantic? Get ready to fall in love over Life Floor’s custom made dinnerware sets. They come in any of our 30 different colors to match your home decor. Note: please do not use Life Floor dinnerware with sharp utensils, food, or repartee.

And 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 didn’t seem like great ideas. Maybe there’s really just one very good use for Life Floor: providing safety, design, and comfort for everyone in aquatic environments. Happy April Fools Day!