general pool rules

These statements and rules are listed for staff to choose from. Modify them as you please.

sign warning no lifeguard on duty:

All pools have health and safety rules that we ask everyone to understand and follow. The
lifeguards are responsible for enforcing these rules in order to PREVENT accidents from
occurring. We realize that during low attendance, some of the rules may not seem appropriate.
However, in order to maintain consistency between the staff and pool users at our pool, the
lifeguards are instructed to enforce the rules at all times.

PLEASE READ THE BASIC RULES LISTED HERE FOR YOUR SAFETY. This list is not all inclusive or legally complete and no liability is assumed for completeness. The lifeguards have the authority to make new rules as needed.

The lifeguards have the authority to impose more stringent rules for the safety and enjoyment of pool users

Swimming is not permitted without a lifeguard on duty

Pool equipment and chemicals are to be handled by pool personnel only.

Emergency equipment is to be used by authorized personnel only.

The sign below says for emergency use only, this is not a toy.

ring buoy with sign emergency use only not a toy

The lifeguard stands are only for lifeguards.

No unnecessary conversations with on-duty lifeguards.

In the event of an emergency, the pool will be cleared. The signal for
this will be one long blast of a lifeguard’s whistle.

All injuries on the premises should be reported immediately to the pool manager or lifeguard.

pool tiles 2 foot ten inches 75 pixels:

pool tile with rules

The pool will be closed during inclement weather.

At the sound of thunder the lifeguard and or the pool manager will announce
the pool is closed. The pool will remain closed for at least 30 minutes from the last sound of
thunder. The safety of our patrons is our biggest concern, so the pool may be closed before the
first sound of thunder if the lifeguard and/or pool manager feels there is
a risk of injury to any person using the facility.

Why can’t you swim during a lightning storm? A strike on a lake doesn’t kill all the fish in the lake.

We can find the answer from the Charolotte observer Posted on Sat, May. 31, 2003

Why don’t fish get fried by lightning?

“Q. They always urge you to get out of the water when a thunderstorm begins. Why doesn’t lightning kill fish? — Mel Helms, Charlotte

“…The best answer to Mel’s question we found comes from Don MacGorman, a physicist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla. When asked him why fish don’t get fried by lightning, Don said it’s probably because they’re underwater.

“Basically lightning stays more on the surface of the water rather than penetrating it. That’s because water is a reasonably good conductor, and a good conductor keeps most of the current on the surface,” he said.
So, when lightning hits the water, the current zips across the surface in all directions. And if you’re swimming anywhere in the vicinity, it’ll probably zap you. But below the surface, most of the electricity is neutralized, and the fish are generally spared. Some fish underwater near the strike are probably hurt or killed by electricity that penetrates to some extent…”

Lightning that could hit the building will travel through wires, pipes, etc. Do not use the showers or talk on phones during lightning storms.

sign says pool closed positively no swimming

No refunds.

The facility is not responsible for personal belongings. Please do not bring valuables into the facility.

We are not responsible for items stored in lockers. Personal locks left on lockers will be removed.

There is no locker room check-in service

We are not responsible for any valuables brought into the pool area.

Water in plastic bottles is permitted.

Food and Drink must be consumed outside of the enclosed pool area.

Food and beverages allowed only in designated areas.

Eating, drinking, gum chewing, and smoking are not allowed in the pool area.

No gum chewing in pool.

Glass containers are not allowed.

sign that says no glassware allowed in pool area

NO SMOKING anywhere in or around the facility.

Smoking and alcoholic beverages are not allowed in the pool area. Chewing gum and glass
containers are not allowed in the pool area.

(The reason behind no glass containers is that if broken, it is nearly impossible to clean up all the glass fragments, and swimmers often have bare feet.)

No alcoholic beverages allowed.

a sign of State of Montana pool rules
Do not hang on lane lines. They are for emergency use only.

lifelines (or lanelines) should be used only for temporary support

Lane lines are designed to separate lanes. They may not be hung on or abused in any way.


Reasons to not hang on the lane lines:

1) they break

2) guard might think you are in trouble
when you aren’t

3) no room for people who really are in trouble

4) submerges it so it
can’t be seen, especially if it is a swim area boundary.


sign with pool rules from Washington State
Throwing objects, such as balls or frisbees, is not allowed

Horseplay, such as running, splashing, pushing in, shoving, or dunking, is not allowed

No clowning around, in or out of the pool

No running or other endangering behavior is permitted at any time in the pool area or locker rooms.

Determination of types of behavior which could be dangerous is subject to discretion of staff on

Swimming near the drains is potentially dangerous, and therefore is not permitted

No prolonged underwater swimming.

Any person who wants to float without moving must signal to the lifeguards that they are okay
by giving a “thumbs-up” signal.

floating thumbs up:

Swimmers will not be allowed to run and jump into the pool, jump in backwards, “spin” or do
flips from the edge

No boisterous conduct such as: running, shoving, throwing others into the pool, showing off

no suntanning or lying within six feet of pool edge- (guards need quick access- paint a stripe on the deck 6 feet from the edge if needed)

Changing clothes is allowed only in the locker room or restroom

No scuba equipment allowed in the pool at any time.

Starting blocks may only be used during competitive swim practices.

standing or kneeling on kickboards is not allowed, (when you lose control of one it can fly up
thru the water with enough force to take out someone’s teeth)

No pets allowed.

Radios, Tape/CD players, other devices may be used only with head sets.

Coolers are not permitted inside the facility.

Profanity, fighting, and any other inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated. Patrons should treat each other and the staff with courtesy and respect.

Profanity, improper behavior, intoxication, and vulgar remarks are prohibited.

Running on the deck, and horseplay of any kind are not tolerated in the
pool or pool area.

Running, excessive splashing, shoving, dunking, and object throwing are

No running or fast walking allowed

Excessive noise is forbidden in the pool area and locker rooms

Games endangering swimmers or sunbathers are not allowed.

Running and jumping into the water is not allowed.

Swim equipment subject to approval by staff on duty.

Flotation devices of all kinds are not permitted in the pool; this includes water wings, bubbles, inner-tubes, inflatable bathing suits, plastic floats, noodles or floats sewn into bathing suits, etc.

Inner tubes and floats will not be allowed in the pool or the pool area as
this presents safety problems for the lifeguards

Soft plastic balls of reasonable size, snorkels, face masks, and foot fins are permitted at the discretion of the lifeguards.

Toys may not be brought into the pool during recreational swim; such as beach balls, diving sticks, diving bricks, etc.

No Noodles. Toys which are inflated, ridden, thrown, or launched in any manner are prohibited.

Fins, kickboards, buoys and jogging belts may be used by lap swimmers in lap lanes only.

The pool staff is authorized to restrict or ban the use of flotation devices and toys.

Should conditions in the pool change, equipment must be removed from pool if determined by staff on duty

For safety reasons, large rafts, oversized tubes and high powered water guns are not permitted.

On crowded days, the lifeguards may have to restrict all such devices.

Inflatable pool toys, mattresses and tire inner tubes are not allowed.

Shoes and sneakers must be taken off before walking on the pool deck.

Masks, fins, and snorkels are not allowed except for adult lap swimmers

The wearing of goggles is recommended for protection against eye irritation.

Ahwahnee pool sign:


Swim tests are mandatory for any swimmer who wants to swim in deep water. To pass a swim
test, swimmer must be able to swim 25 yards using front crawl, without stopping.

Plastic, brightly colored wristbands are issued once a swimmer passes the swim test. They must be worn in order to swim in deep water.

non-swimmers must identify themselves to lifeguards and stay in shallow water

patrons who wish to enter deep water may be required to demonstrate their swimming ability

swimmers will be allowed into the diving well who can demonstrate swimming with breathing for 15 yards without stopping

A 10-minute rest break will be given every hour on the hour. At 5 minutes to the hour a signal is given and all swimmers under the age of 18 must exit the pool for 10 minutes.

During hourly/safety checks, only persons 18 and older are permitted in the pool.

When an Adult Swim is called, all children under the age of 16 must vacate the pool deck

Adults take priority over children in the designated lap lanes.

One lane will be reserved for lap swim at all times.

Two lanes will be reserved for lap swim at all times

An area of the pool will be sectioned off for lap swimming.

All lap swimming is circular swimming.

Kickboards are for kicking laps in the designated lap lanes only. They are not permitted in the open swim area and they may not be used as floats for children.

A swimmer may not use fins or paddles when the lane is being shared

sign that says the main drains must be clearly visible and sharply defined from any point on the side of the pool. Anything else requires management to close the pool.


Minor violations are as follows:

1. Pushing and shoving

2. Unnecessary splashing

3. Running on deck and/or in the locker rooms

4. Diving in non-diving areas

5. Jumping and/or diving in backwards

6. More than one bounce on board

7. Swimming in diving area, except during
designated times

8. Leaving diving area in wrong direction

9. Towel snapping

10. Not leaving pool when ordered to do so by staff

11. Splashing guard

12. Smoking on the pool deck and/or locker rooms

For children:

The first time a minor rule is broken a warning is given.

The second time, a time out, in the shade, is given.

The third time, you are asked to leave the facility for the amount of time
specified by the lifeguard.

For adults:

The first time a minor rule is broken a warning is given.

The second time, you are asked to leave the facility for the amount of time specified by the lifeguard.

Major violations are as follows:

1. Fighting

2. Profanity

3. Dangerous diving

4. Use of diving boards which have been declared off-limits

5. Other diving or horseplay which endangers swimmers

6. Re-entering pool after being removed for the day

7. Harassing lifeguards

8. Pushing lifeguards in pool

9. Intoxication

For any age group: first violation of a major rule equals expulsion from the pool.

Repeated violations of major rules:

First and second violations: removal for the day, the weekend, (or multiple days if the violation
occurs near the end of the day)

Third violation: removal for one week

Fourth violation: removal for the season


no diving occupancy 36:


violations of laws reportable to the authorities equals expulsion for the season


sign says warning no lifeguard on duty
From a column in the San Francisco Chronicle, a sign in the locker room of the Oakland Athletic Club:

due to the advent of picture phones, cell phone use is not allowed in the locker room.”

This is the recommendation from an issue of Recreation Management:

“The advent of camera cell phones has introduced a new privacy issue with regard to locker rooms and images being taken. Signs that state no cameras or cell phones in locker rooms prevents the possibility of inappropriate (or illegal) picture taking.”

It would be a shame for someone to find nude photos on the internet and recognize the background as your locker room(s).


Rules from a California City website:

“Rules for the safe use of the RXXXXXX Swimming complex:

A. Children 7 years of age and younger must be directly supervised by a chaperone
16 years of age or older. Chaperones must wear a swimsuit, accompany the child
in the water and be within arm’s length at all times. Children may not be left
unattended in the facility at any time.
B. All swimmers must wear swimsuits. Clothing including undergarments is not
permitted. Clean overshirts are permitted for modesty or sun protection as long
as they are worn over swimsuits. Infants and toddlers who are not yet toilet trained
must wear swim diapers.
C. Flotation devices including water wings, padded swimsuits and inner tubes are
not permitted except US Coast Guard approved lifejackets.
D. Flippers, snorkel masks, and hard balls are not permitted.
E. All persons entering the facility must pay, including those not intending to swim,
except children 2 years of age and younger.
F. Patrons must pay again to re-enter the facility after leaving.
G. Walk at all times on the pool deck.
H. Bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, and skateboards are not permitted on the pool
I. Dogs, cats and other animals are not permitted on the pool deck (does not apply
to service animals as defined by state and federal law).
J. Fighting, roughhousing, chicken fighting, screaming, profane language, and
pretending to drown is not permitted in the facility.
K. Patrons are not permitted to sit on guard chairs, lane lines, starting blocks or
L. Barbecues, alcohol and glass/breakable containers are not permitted in the
M. Food and drinks must be consumed at picnic tables, on grass and farther than 10
feet from poolside.
N. Heed instructions from Lifeguards and overhead announcements at all times.
O. Aquatics staff reserves the right to ask anyone who violates these rules to leave
the facility.
P. To maintain a safe environment, pool rules are subject to change at any time.”


below, an incredibly outdated safety sign at a hotel pool in 2007:

silvester holger neilson sign:


Other lists of swimming pool rules at this website:

spas rules

pool rules concerning children

diving board and slide rules

pool rules: attire, health and sanitation

If pools posted their rules in all the languages of their customers the guards’ jobs would be easier and the patrons would have a safer, more enjoyable visit.


How to tell if the lifeguards are doing their job properly, pool safety deficiencies, or Preventative lifeguarding might also interest you.

Lifeguarding and Red Cross links of interest to professionals are at the page Lifeguard training, swimming, CPR and first aid links