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December 2016

Be Aware Of Your Specific Swimming Pool Regulations

By | Liability, Swimming Pool Tips | No Comments

As much as swimming pool laws and regulations seem universal, specific sets of swimming pool regulations apply to different types of pool owners and pool owners from different states. Knowing the specific swimming pool regulations that apply to a swimming pool can reduce the pool owner’s liability and also go a long way in the prevention of disastrous swimming pool incidents.

Insurance Cover

A residential homeowner is not required by law to have insurance coverage for his swimming pool, although one is recommended since disastrous pool incidents can occur without warning. However, insurance coverage for public swimming pool owners is a necessity that is enforced by the local swimming pool regulations of any state. This applies to swimming pools owned by commercial enterprises, clubs, hotels and municipalities.

Failure to have an insurance cover for the said swimming pool owners effectively revokes their right to operate and open their doors to the public. This is because, a typical public pool insurance policy not only covers liability exposures but also encompasses pool property, which includes the actual facility, the lifeguards, pool safety equipment and even sexual molestation cases in some instances.


Although technically not all public swimming pools will require their patrons to sign some waivers before getting in the pool, some states make this compulsory, especially in the presence of swimming pool facilities such as diving boards and slides. Residential pool owners are not required by law to do so but can also use waivers to mitigate liability.


Swimming pool regulations concerning the fencing and the installation of barriers around the pool are often specified within the State’s, city’s or county’s local regulations and entail all the specifics including the measurements and the material.

Trained Poolside Personnel

Not every state requires a swimming pool to have a life guard on duty every time the pool is operational. This usually depends on the public pool’s main source of income. Swimming pools that charge their patrons directly are not obligated to have lifeguards on duty at all times.

However, public swimming pools that are administered using public funds will often require a lifeguard on duty or the necessary warning signs put in place. In any case, most states do not allow public swimming pools to operate without a trained lifeguard on duty.

Poolside Regulations

In almost all the states, public swimming pools are supposed to instate a limit on the age of children who can swim without supervision. The hours of operation must also be clearly posted in sight of everyone to prevent people from coming to the swimming pool when no personnel are available. State law may also touch on issues such as the lifeguard to swimmer ratio, the availability of an emergency line at the poolside and the level of certification of the staff.

Taking the necessary precautions in addition to adhering to these simple poolside regulations can be instrumental in mitigating liability for the pool owner in the event a tragic swimming pool-related incident occurs. Be familiar with your state’s regulations in addition to the specific guidelines that apply to the particular type of swimming pool you own.

Swimming Pool Accident Facts

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7 % of all injury-related deaths are caused by accidents that occur in and around the swimming pool area. In fact, drowning is the 3rd leading cause of accidental death in the world, making swimming one of the most dangerous recreational activities we partake in.

In summary, teenagers are the most susceptible to injuries and deaths from diving-related accidents, with 6,500 cases reported every year. The bulk of swimming pool injuries occur in in-ground swimming pools. Over half the reported swimming pool injuries and deaths occur when alcohol and drugs are involved, which is usually at a pool party. 80 % of the reported swimming pool accidents take place in water that is 4 feet or less in depth.

Primary Causes of Swimming Pool Injuries

Unexpectedly, 70 % of all the injuries sustained at the swimming pool are head and neck injuries. These are sustained from headfirst dives either from the board or from the side of the pool and are often fatal.

Cannonballs and random jumps cause about 18 % of the total number of pool-related injuries reported every year. Although not often fatal, these usually cause cuts and bruises, or sometimes fractured bones. These are by far the most common as even professional swimmers fall victim every once in a while.

Dangerous flips and handstands result in about 12 % of the swimming-pool related injuries every year. Most swimming pools have strict regulations that ban such “horseplay” in and around the pool area.

While it is easy to point a finger at the diving board, the Spinal Cord Injury Information Network concluded that diving boards are only responsible for about 10 % of all swimming pool diving accidents.

Swimming Pool Drowning Deaths

Statistics released from the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control show that the figures about annual deaths caused by drowning in swimming pools, are staggering. An estimated 372,000 drowning deaths are reported every year, with about 3,536 people drowning every year in the United States alone.

According to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children between the ages of 1 and 4. On average, 390 children lose their lives in the swimming pool or the spa every year, according to the Consumer Product Safety commission. In fact, statistics show that 76 % of the deaths caused by drowning in the United States annually involve children below the age of 5 years, while those below the age of 3 years make up for 67 % of all swimming pool drowning deaths.

In relation to swimming pool injuries, the CDC reported that for every child who drowns, 5 more are rushed to the emergency room with a swimming pool-related injury. Almost half of the swimming pool incidences (47 %) have unsurprisingly occurred at residential pools, while 27 % have taken place at public swimming pools and spas.

From these statistics, it is evident that some of the most pertinent risk factors include age, with children being affected the most, gender, where males are more susceptible to drowning than females are, proximity to water, natural disasters such as flooding and alcohol and drug abuse.

Adhering to the various swimming pool regulations and poolside rules is so far the only way we can prevent these unnecessary deaths and injuries that occur in swimming pools.