Underwater Video Monitoring Coming to Scotland Pools

Eric Herman Headshot
photo of a person swimming

Community pools in Scotland are set to add a layer of safety with underwater closed-circuit television systems. Members of the Moray Council, one of 32 local government council areas in Scotland, recently voted to install cameras and viewing stations in facilities in the towns of Buckie, Forres and Keith.

These video feeds will offer multiple camera angles and make it easier for trained staff to spot swimmers in trouble. However, the plan has drawn criticism from opponents who argue that on-deck lifeguards are better able to monitor the public. And others have expressed concerns that some bathers will be uncomfortable knowing they’re being watched from underwater.  

Emma Carr, director of civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, said: “Many swimmers will undoubtedly feel uncomfortable at the thought of CCTV cameras watching them as they swim and they will rightly question whether such a system is truly necessary."

According to a Moray Council spokesman: “Safety of our swimmers is paramount and the council doesn’t believe there’s any personal intrusion as only trained members of staff will be operating the equipment. This is first and foremost an issue of safety.

“The technology sends high-resolution images to the lifeguards who can monitor the situation in the pool in real time. The cameras will be recording but no images will ever be stored as it will be a live stream straight to the lifeguards.”

The council further argues that CCTV systems will reduce the number of lifeguards required during peak hours generating savings that will rapidly more than pay for the systems. 

Underwater cameras have been used for years covering aquatic sporting events and in therapy pools for decades. The current kerfuffle in Scotland raises interesting questions about the technology’s possible use for public safety.  

What do you think? 

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