The Legal Responsibilities of a Pool Owner

No Diving
A pool can provide fun and relaxation for the whole family, as well as friends. But a pool is also an inherently dangerous condition, what the law refers to as an “attractive nuisance,” something that piques the curiosity of small children. Because of these concerns, the law imposes specific duties on pool owners.

Because of the risks associated with a pool, the California legislature passed legislation requiring homeowners with pools to take certain precautions. Under the Swimming Pool Safety Act of the California Health and Safety Code, for any pool constructed or remodeled after January 1, 2007, the pool must have at least one of the following drowning prevention safety features:
The pool must have an enclosure that prevents access to other homes. The enclosure must be at least five feet high, with no more than two inches gap from the ground to the bottom of the enclosure. There can be no gaps in the enclosure of four inches or greater. There can be nothing on the outside of the enclosure that would serve as a foothold or handhold to allow a child of less than five years of age to climb over the enclosure. All access gates must open away from the pool, must be self-closing and self-latching, with a latch at least 60 inches from the ground.

  • The pool may incorporate removable mesh pool fencing, provided it meets ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) specifications, and has a self-closing, self-latching gate that can accommodate a key lockable device.
  • The pool has an approved safety pool cover that meets ASTM specifications
  • The home has exit alarms on all doors that lead directly to the pool
  • All doors that go directly from the house to the pool have self-closing, self-latching devices with the release mechanism at least 54 inches above the floor
  • The pool is equipped with alarms that are placed in the pool, and that will go off when there is accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water
  • Any other means of protection, provided the degree of protection is equal to or greater than that provided by any of the means above, as long as the means of protection has been independently verified by an approved testing laboratory.

The statute defines swimming pool to include any structure that contains water over 18 inches deep, and that is intended for swimming or recreational bathing, such as spas, hot tubs and whirlpools.

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