To make sure that everyone can have a good time while swimming, anyone who owns a backyard pool should take reasonable steps to protect their families and guests from harm. Exercising caution prevents unsavory incidents from happening. It can also assist residential pool owners in defending themselves from potential litigation or even criminal charges.

The Bare Minimum

At the very least, a pool owner is responsible for four things:

  1. They or someone else will be constantly supervising pool use by anyone under the age of twelve or who may have cognitive or physical disabilities. Even adults and older children should have someone available to regularly check on them. No one should ever swim at home alone.
  1. According to federal law, a four foot gated enclosure or “effective barrier” must surround the pool with several feet of room in between the fence and the pool.
  1. Pool owners should post visible signage indicating the inherent risks of pool use. Signs should be placed around shallow areas warning people not to dive.
  1. Equipment must be reasonably maintained. A non-entrapping drain cover should be used and all pool equipment should be adequately shielded from causing electric shock.

An Effective Barrier

State and federal law requires an “effective barrier” surrounding the pool. It must be at least four feet high and it cannot be easily climbable. Other stipulations include:

  • The pool must have a gate that is self-closing and self-latching. The gate must open outward from the pool, and the latch must be 54” high and inaccessible from the outside.
  • The fence cannot have any gaps that can be used to squeeze through. Anything larger than 4” can allow a small child’s head or chest access.
  • The barrier must be at such a distance from the pool that anyone climbing over it will not immediately fall in.
  • A wall of a house can serve as part of the barrier. If there is a door or window on the wall, it must contain an exit alarm.

Additional Safety Equipment Possibilities

Pool owners should go beyond the minimum legal requirement if they want to prove that they took precautions to prevent risk.

A power-operated retractable pool safety cover is one of the most vital components of a safe pool. The cover should be able to support a small amount of weight without sinking into the water.

Another great device is a pool alarm. These alarms can be rigged to detect either surface or sub-surface disturbances while the pool is supposed to be empty. When someone or something falls in, the alarm will sound off and alert everyone in the area.

Other possible pool safety equipment includes:

  • Life-saving flotation devices
  • Multiple exit ladders accessible to swimmers
  • Homes that will have disabled or elderly bathers regularly using the pool should have a chair lift for entering and exiting the water

Additionally, every person who is regularly responsible for pool supervision should take water safety classes. These classes should include CPR techniques for both adults and young children.

All of these recommendations are made to keep pool owners, their families and their guests safe. Taking heed of these can also reduce the likelihood of encountering legal repercussions, both civil and criminal.

If you are not sure about your home’s pool, a professional Fort Lauderdale pool service can evaluate its overall safety and adherence to regulations. They can analyze your setup and make recommendations as to possible improvements that could be made. You can take a look at our residential services page to find out more.