Making Waves with a Chief Water-Fun Engineer

Laura H

2 years ago

A scorching hot desert surrounded by two hundred islands, Abu Dhabi’s glistening coastline and everything it entails has long been the Emirate’s beating heart; a historic source of livelihood for its people, and a special place of refuge with endless possibilities for water-related leisure and sports activities. Inspired by the UAE’s rich heritage of pearl diving, the creation of Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, the only Emirati-themed waterpark in the world, was therefore inevitable.

The nation’s first mega waterpark is home to more than 40 exhilarating rides, slides and attractions – five of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. With rides and experiences on offer to thrill both the young and the young at heart, the park’s highly trained and engaging staff work in tandem, to ensure that visitors never leave without a genuine smile and freshly stocked memory bank, chockfull of unforgettable experiences.

Dipping our toes into a day in the life of the waterpark’s friendly Operations Director, Bryan Fish, we came to a deeper appreciation for his role and vital team spirit. Elaborating on his responsibilities, Bryan explained, “My job is to ensure that Yas Waterworld delivers a safe and exciting experience to all our guests who enjoy our pools, rides, and attractions. Because I started out my career as a lifeguard, and my last name is Fish, I like to stay close to the water. So, every morning I start my day in our Amwaj Wave pool, training with some of our lifeguards. The rest of the day is a mix of planning, meetings, data analysis, problem solving and working on various projects.”

“The nice thing is, I can always break the day up with a walk through the park. It’s great to be able to ‘change gears’ and get out and greet colleagues and chat with guests who are enjoying the park,” he added.

The waterpark plays host to the globe’s first interactive water and laser rollercoaster, Bandit Bomber, as well as Liwa Loop, the region’s first looping waterslide. With so many daring attractions on offer, safeguarding the wellbeing of all park visitors is of utmost importance to Bryan and his colleagues. Therefore, every lifeguard, seasoned or recently hired, is rigorously trained for a minimum of four hours every month.

Bryan revealed, “Our lifeguards spend hours learning about and practicing how to watch for and respond to a distressed swimmer. They become highly skilled in CPR and first aid care. By the end of their training, they are an impressive team to watch in action.”

Regina Mypa, a Yas Waterworld lifeguard who first joined the park as a member of its preopening team in 2012 added, “To ultimately pass the lifeguard course, we must pass a written test and a series of individual and team-based practical tests. As Yas Waterworld lifeguards, we must maintain our credentials and failure to do so can result in license revocation… Accountability is very important to our program. The training never stops.”

Now in its fourth year of operations, the park has been awarded over 20 industry awards and accolades, including receiving the 2016 Travelers’ Choice Award by TripAdvisor, for the third consecutive year. It has also enticed a number of A-List celebrities and athletes through its fortress-like doors.

An undoubtedly tremendous reason for the park’s success, Bryan opens up about Yas Waterworld’s affirmative company culture and collective spirit ‘behind the scenes’, explaining, “It’s kind of like being amongst an extended family. We truly believe that it is important to have a happy and friendly culture amongst one another in order for the same spirit to translate to our guests.”
Sharing a little nugget of wisdom with people interested in pursuing his line of work, he clarified, “It’s tricky to teach people to balance enforcing rules, maintaining vigilance, while being friendly and engaging. My simple mantra that I share is; be Firm, Fair, but Friendly.”

Naming the most exciting project he is currently working on, along with curious facts that would surprise people about his role, he said, “We are working on a Junior Aquatics Program for our young Annual Pass holders that will be rolled out soon. I get to test all of the park’s rides and the slides, and still lifeguard sometimes, so I maintain an appreciation for the job.”

Closing our interview with Bryan, we asked him to shed light on the personally fulfilling aspect of his career with Yas Waterworld. He concluded, “There are so many… but the best part is when you hear about the great memories that we’ve created for our guests. It’s really cool knowing the experience we provide holds a special spot in so many people’s hearts and minds. On the other hand, it’s seeing my team members grow and succeed in achieving their goals. I’ve been in this industry for 23 years now and many of the wonderful people that have worked for me have gone on to be successful in a lot of different areas… That is very rewarding!”

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