Pool Safety, Liability and Management In the Swim

Many homeowner associations (HOAs) maintain either an indoor or outdoor pool for the benefit of their members. Indeed, swimming is not only a pleasant way to cool off during the summer months; it's also one of the most efficient forms of exercise, and one of the less strenuous on the muscles and joints.

A private community association pool is not without its headaches, however. Management of such a recreational amenity is hard work. There are rules and regulations, both state and federal, to which associations must adhere. There are additional staff that must be hired—either via subcontractor or directly—to both maintain the facility and to serve as lifeguards. And there are insurance liability issues that must be dealt with, too.

That said, the red tape is not without purpose. The reason the federal and state governments enact bathing regulations, the reason lifeguards are on hand at community swimming pools, and the reason insurance companies are sticklers for certain rules is to keep everyone who swims in the pool safe.

Know the Law

Swimming pools are covered under the New Jersey State Bathing Code, a substantial document of some fifty pages that deals with everything from the slope of the pool deck to the degrees from plumb of the offset ledges.

Just about every item in the Bathing Code is there to promote a safe swimming experience—especially for children. Drowning is the number one cause of death for children under the age of five in California, Alaska, and Florida, and high on the list in New Jersey as well.


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  • Is there a State Law that says people who are swimming in a INDOOR totally enclosed swimming pool have to get at of the pool if there is thunder or lightening outside?
  • Is there a law that requires patio furniture to be a certain distance from the pool?
  • What are the exceptions for retirement communities in requiring a lifeguard?
  • is it permissible for pool users in a retirement community to shower at home rather than at the community pool prior to entering the pool
  • In my condo development, the board is allowing and participating in parties that include "some" condo owners and their outside guests who are drinking wine and dancing to loud music in the pool area. Is this safe and what can I do about it AS AN OWNER?
  • I am swimming in one of the Health Club in New Jersey.There are two pools under one roof one for kids warm 83F (6 lanes X 50 feet) and Lessons and the other is Laps swim pool 81F temperature (5 Lanes X 81 feet long). I see only only one Lifeguard is looking for both pools when pool separatly locating and swimmers swim in both. Observation of both pools not clear from any places. Is it required two Lifeguards by State Regulations?
  • What are the rules regarding smoking in a condo pool area?
  • I was recently injured in a diving accident at a community pool in Hunterdon county. I am trying to find information regarding the design of diving board areas in a community pool; how deep the water needs to be, what angle the slope needs to be from the diving are to the swimming area stuff like that. Can you help me in this matter
  • I am a certified school nurse at a private school in New Jersey for special needs children ages 3-21.. We currently have a new aquatic pool that isn't opened yet. Can you tell me where I can go to research NJ state law governing indoor aquatic therapy pools? I want to be prepared.
  • Is there a rule in place in NJ regarding overcapacity of a town public pool. My wife suffered a seizure from the stress of way too many swimmers (And I mean no one was able to swim), which triggered a heart attack that lead to her near fatal drowning.
  • Can I contact you regarding retirement community pools? My association has expanded the hours minors are allowed in our pool without a lifeguard or monitor for risky/dangerous behaviors (some committed by adults residents) and I am anxious that if the association is sued and there isn't adequate limits, the homeowners will be assessed to make up the difference.
  • Does the law state that all apartment pools must close on Labor day weekend or is it just a guide. Can the tenants use the area around the pool for BBQ's etc or are there legal restrictions?