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California Pool Signage Requirements

Whether you’re in hospitality or another industry, a commercial swimming pool offers loads of benefits for your business. Increased property value, better employee enjoyment—these all sound great on paper, but with these attractive benefits comes hefty responsibilities. These include complying with pool signage requirements and regulations to maintain the highest level of safety. 

As a pool owner, you become potentially liable for risks like accidents and injuries. So to avoid issues down the line, here’s a guide outlining the requirements you need to follow if you plan to get a commercial pool and make sure that your pool sign ideas are compliant to regulations.

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Pool Safety Regulations

Before you get all excited about installing your commercial pool, here are some public pool safety regulations you should know about in California. Keep these in mind while constructing your pool to ensure that you don’t run into legal trouble. 

First Aid and CPR Requirements

Division 2.5, Section 1797.182 of the California Health Safety Code (HSC) requires that you train your pool lifeguards to perform first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during emergencies. You should accomplish this requirement no later than a year after employing them, and you’ll need to have them complete a refresher course every three years.

Wave Pool Safety Act

Under Article 2.7 of the California HSC, you must follow these provisions for wave pools:

  • Provide free Type II and III US Coast Guard-approved life vests for non-swimmers and children under 48 inches in height
  • Require children under 42 inches in height to be accompanied by an adult
  • Assign a lifeguard to every wave pool
  • Ensure that lifeguard has a full vantage view of the pool area
  • Perform regular inspections and maintenance for wave equipment

Public Pool and Safety Act

This law is also called the Assembly Bill 1020, which adopts the federal standards for swimming pools and spa drain covers. Essentially, it requires that all public pools install drain covers and proper safety devices to prevent entrapment hazards. 

Swimming Pool Sanitation and Safety

Article 5 of the California HSC outlines various rules on maintaining sanitation and safety in public swimming pools. Some guidelines include:

  • Installing proper electrical systems to prevent shocks
  • Providing lifeguard services for any pools that charge a direct fee
  • Allowing inspectors to enter pool premises at any time to investigate sanitary conditions 

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What are the Required Signages for Commercial Pools in California?

Aside from safety regulations, pool signage requirements are just as important to learn about when operating a public pool. Below are the pool signs mandated under the California Building Code (CBC). The general requirement is to attach the pool signage to a permanent structure and use letters of at least four inches high unless otherwise indicated.  

  • Artificial Respiration and CPR. This sign provides instructions on how to perform artificial respiration and CPR procedures in case of any emergencies. It should contain relevant diagrams to demonstrate each step and use text that’s at least ¼ inch high.
  • Diarrhea. This sign specifies that anyone who has diarrhea or has experienced it in the last 14 days should not enter the pool. This is an important reminder because swimmers with diarrhea can release Cryptosporidium germs into the water, causing other swimmers in your pool to be at risk of getting ill. 
  • Emergency. This sign should include the emergency number 911, the number of the nearest emergency services from your location, and the name and street address of your pool.
  • Emergency Shutoff. Spas should have this sign beside the emergency switch, spelling out “Emergency Shutoff Switch” in letters of at least one inch.
  • Keep Closed. As the name suggests, this sign should write “Keep Closed” to indicate when pool hours are done. Place this in the exterior side of the gate for maximum visibility. 
  • Maximum Capacity. This sign indicates the maximum number of occupants your pool can accommodate at a time. For spa pools, the permissible capacity is one person for every 10 square feet, while for all other pools, it will be one person for every 20 square feet.
  • No Diving. If your pool is six feet deep or less, you should add this sign to restrict users from diving. Aside from the words “no diving,” the sign should also include the universal symbol indicating that diving is restricted. 
  • No Lifeguard Sign. For pools with no lifeguard services, this sign will spell out “No lifeguard on duty.” Underneath, you should also include “Children under the age of 14 shall not use pool without a parent or adult guardian in attendance” in one-inch text.
  • No Use After Dark. If your pool doesn’t have any lights installed in it, you need to have this sign installed in the pool entrance or exterior gates. It keeps people from entering once it’s dark to prevent potential injuries and accidents.  
  • Warning Signs. When operating a spa pool, you’ll need to have this sign added to provide precaution to users. The word “Caution” should be written in big letters, followed by safety guidelines for elderly people, unsupervised children, anyone under the influence, and others. The exact warning signs to include can be found in CBC 3120B.7.

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How to Know if Your Commercial Pool Meets the Requirements?

The best way to know if your pool meets the requirements is through routine inspections from professionals. Before opening your pool to the public, you’d need to get an inspection from a licensed contractor or health official for a permit. 

However, local health departments usually also conduct follow-up inspections to ensure compliance, so it’s crucial that you also schedule regular pool cleaning and inspections. Pool professionals are more familiar with the regulations, so they can check to see if you follow the laws and have the required pool signs.

What Will Happen if You Do Not Comply?

Penalties for non-compliance will vary depending on the circumstances. For example, if you continue operating your pool despite violations, you can be sued for misdemeanor. The punishment for this offense can be a fine ranging from $50 to $1,000 and/or imprisonment of up to six months. 

Similarly, if someone gets injured or drowns in your pool, they can sue you for personal injury and charge for economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. The amount you’ll pay will depend on how much fault you have as the pool owner. Of course, if you didn’t comply with safety regulations, you’ll be held fully liable for the accident. 

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FAQs About Commercial Pool Signs 

Where should pool signs be placed?

Generally, you should place your pool safety signs in any permanent structure like a fixture, wall, or gate. The main rule is that they should be put somewhere that’s sturdy and easily seen by pool users. 

Are pool depth markers required?

Yes. According to the California Building Code, public pools should have depth markers placed at the following locations:

  • Maximum and minimum depth
  • Each end of the pool
  • Both sides at the pool’s shallowest and deepest part
  • Break in the bottom slope between the pool’s shallow and deep part
  • Along the pool’s perimeter, with distances of not more than 25 feet

What are pool signs made of?

The majority of pool signs are made with aluminum since the material is durable and easy to install in different areas. However, manufacturers may also use other materials like outdoor plastic as long as they stay sturdy against external conditions. 

Where to Get Custom Pool Signage in California?

Failing to comply with the pool signage requirements can lead to many financial and legal consequences. To avoid these problems, make sure you install the necessary signs in your commercial pool. 

If you’re planning to open a pool in Southern California, Starfish Signs and Graphics can help you out with their custom signage solutions. Call them today at 949-353-5974 to get all your pool signs made.