Leisure swimmers enjoying outdoor pool on a sunny day

Pools, lifeguards, and On Water pilot: outdoor aquatic season back with a splash

May 18 2021 –

From May 22, the Park Board will open four outdoor pools, staff ten Vancouver beaches with lifeguards and, on June 1, launch the On Water pilot for non-motorized watercrafts to help people safely enjoy time in and around the city’s waters this summer.

Outdoor aquatic season schedule: May 22 to September 6

May 22: spray parks and three outdoor pools open, lifeguards on duty across ten beaches

Kitsilano, New Brighton, and Second Beach pools will open for sessions to accommodate public and length swimming.

Lifeguards will patrol and supervise designated swimming areas at ten beaches: English Bay, Jericho, Kitsilano, Locarno, Spanish Banks East and West, Sunset, Second, Third, and Trout Lake. Patrolled swimming areas will be marked by red and yellow coloured flags from 11:30am to 8:30pm every day throughout the season.

This year the city’s lifeguards will adopt the widely-recognized red and yellow uniform of the International Life Saving Federation, which leads the global effort to maintain and enhance safety in, on, or around the water.

Spray parks will begin opening at the following parks: MacLean, Chaldecott, Connaught, Harbour Green, Grandview, Hastings, Oak, Stanley, Prince Edward, Pandora, and Garden.

June 1: On Water pilot launched

After extensive public engagement, the Park Board adopted On Water: Vancouver's Non-motorized Watercraft Strategy in June 2019. As part of the On Water implementation plan, Lifeguards will manage 4 non-motorized watercraft access points at swimming beaches this summer. This pilot project will expand recreation opportunities, participation, and access to water while safely managing non-motorized watercraft activities at four swimming beaches: Kitsilano, Spanish Banks, Sunset Beach, and Locarno.

Non-motorized watercrafts include any on-water recreation activities involving small watercraft powered by people and other natural elements, such as: canoeing, kayaking, rowing, dragon boating, outrigging, paddle boarding, surf skiing, wind surfing, kite surfing and boarding, and small craft sailing.

Black and white quartered beach flags will denote the designated launch and recovery access areas for non-motorized watercrafts from 11:30am to 8:30pm, June to September. Access is unregulated outside of these days, times,  and locations.

June 15: Maple Grove pool opens​​​​​​​

​​Maple Grove pool will open for 90 minute public swimming sessions between 11:30am and 7pm.

July 1: Wading pools

Wading pools will begin operation from July 1.

Safety measures at pools

  • The pools will reopen with reduced capacities.
  • Patrons must arrive “swim-ready”. Change rooms will be closed but washrooms will be open for users. There will be no rentals of swimming goggles or towels.
  • All swim sessions must be registered online in advance. Registration opens May 19.
  • Public swimmers can book a 90-minute swim block, while length swimmers can book for a 45 minute swim period. There will be a 30-minute buffer between swim periods during which time the facilities will be sanitized and prepared for the next group.
  • Leisure Access Pass holders will need an access code to the reservation system. Due to technical complications, the Leisure Access Codes are expected to be available beginning May 27.
  • Physical distancing pods on the pool deck (2.1 metres by  2.1 metres or 7 feet by 7 feet).
  • Swimming lanes for length swimming will be wider.

Guidelines at beaches

  • Physical distancing requirements of 2 metres are mandatory for everyone on beaches (lifeguards and community).
  • Change rooms will remain closed, although bathrooms are open.
  • When lifeguards are performing first aid, only the patient and the lifeguard will be allowed in each first aid room at a time. One parent or guardian from the same household will be allowed to accompany a child.
  • Beachgoers are to keep a minimum of 2 metres distance from a lifeguard’s chair.
  • Lifeguards will wear personal protection equipment when on duty.
  • The Park Board will not be deploying rafts at beaches at this time, as there are many obstacles for maintaining community safety and for lifeguards to manage.

Learn more about safety guidelines and registration for outdoor pools