In the US, drowning or near-drowning incidents are not uncommon. Many of these incidents are preventable, particularly those that occur at residential swimming pools. That is why the state of Florida has specific regulations surrounding swimming pools at residences. The goal is to ensure that everyone can enjoy pools while also helping to keep people, particularly children, safe.
Pool Safety Features Required
Before a pool can pass inspection and receive a certificate of completion, it must have at least one of the following requirements related to safety features:
The pool must be isolated from access to the home by an enclosure that has sufficient barriers (will be discussed below), or
The pool must be equipped with a safety pool cover, or
All doors or windows that provide direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with an exit alarm with a minimum sound pressure rating of 85 decibels at 10 feet of distance, or
All doors that provide access from the home to the pool have to be equipped with a gate that is self-closing and self-latching with the release mechanism at least 54 inches above the floor.
In the event an individual fails to equip new residential pools with at least one of these safety features, they could face a second-degree misdemeanor charge. No penalty will be imposed if the individual equips the pool with the least one of these safety features and attends a drowning prevention education program within 45 days of the arrest or issuance of summons.
Pool Barriers Required
One of the approved safety features for approval as a barrier. In order for a residential swimming pool barrier to be sufficient, it must have all of the following characteristics:
It must be at least four feet high on the outside
There cannot be any gaps, indentations, protrusions, openings, or other component that would allow a child to go under, through, or over the barrier
The barrier must be placed around the perimeter of the pool and must be separate from any other fence, wall, or enclosure surrounding the yard unless that fence, enclosure, or wall is on the perimeter of the pool and is part of the barrier and meets the requirements in this statute
The barrier must be placed far enough away from the edge of the water to prevent a child or frail elderly individual from falling immediately into the water after going through, under, or around the barrier.
New Owners Upon Property Sale
Any pool contractor or home contractor that is building a new home or pool for a buyer must furnish the buyer with a copy of the publication that contains the Florida statutes surrounding information regarding drowning prevention and the responsibilities of pool ownership.
Working With an Attorney
If you or somebody you care about has been injured at a pool due to the negligent actions of a property owner, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. These claims can become challenging when working to determine liability for the injury or death, but a lawyer will fully investigate the incident and help recover compensation on behalf of their client.