Summer is almost here, and it’s time to start thinking about getting your pool ready for the season. There are so many things to take care of when opening your pool for the summer. Do you have all of the chemicals you need? Do you have a cover? Do you need a heater? Most importantly, do you have a fence around your pool?
Many people don’t realize the importance of having a fence around their pools and that it isn’t just for aesthetic reasons. There are many safety factors involved in owning a pool, and it may be that your insurance company or your municipality requires homeowners to have pool fencing. We are going to dive into the reasons why you should have fencing around your swimming pool.
Reasons You Need Fencing
Above Ground Pools
Do you have an above-ground swimming pool? If you do not have fencing, it is time to consider the investment, which isn’t all that much compared to the costs that you could incur by not having fencing. In addition, these fences are easy to climb, making them fair game for small children.
If you have any furniture or toys near the pool that children can climb on, this could turn into a hazardous situation if you are not around to supervise children playing near the pool. Having a fence will ensure that they can’t get anywhere near the pool unsupervised.
Many people think that if their pools are accessible from their homes, and if the outside of the homes’ walls provides at least one side of a barrier, you should still install fencing for the other side.
Children are fast, and it only takes a couple of seconds for them to open a door and run right to the pool and jump in. You also need to be aware of your pets. If you have a doggie door, your dog could easily go outside and get into the pool and then not be able to get back out.
In addition to a fence, if your pool is accessible from your home and if you have small children, it is a good idea to install a door alarm. That way, as soon as the door is opened, you will be able to make sure your children don’t get into the pool without supervision.
It is not necessary to have separate insurance for a swimming pool. That being said, it would be a wise decision to increase the personal liability in your insurance policy and purchase an umbrella policy that will supplement the personal liability. Some insurance companies will not even insure a home with a pool unless there is fencing around the pool.
Who is the most likely to use the pool? Is your pool going to be a place where neighborhood kids gather? Do you like to host pool parties with friends who like to drink? Is there a chance that people may sneak into your yard and get into the pool?
These are all things you need to consider and good reasons to make sure that your pool is fenced in. If anyone is injured or drowns because they got into the pool when you weren’t there to supervise, you can and will be held liable for any injuries or damages.
So, if your insurance company tells you that you need to have more coverage for a swimming pool, it is not just because they want to get more money out of you. A pool is a considerable risk, both for you and for your insurer.
Before installing a swimming pool, or if you already have a pool but do not have fencing, it is essential to check with your local municipality to find out if there are any by-laws regarding pools and fencing.
While some municipalities do not have any regulations regarding pools, others may have stringent regulations, and you could end up being fined if you do not have the proper fencing around your swimming pool.
We already mentioned that pools can attract many people in your neighborhood and that there might be people trying to sneak into your pool when you are not around.
A swimming pool is often referred to as an “attractive nuisance,” and many states have attractive nuisance laws. You will need to do your research to find out what the laws are in your area.
The attractive nuisance law states that you could be held legally responsible if something happens to anyone who tries to get into your pool.
You could end up being liable if there is any personal injury or wrongful death, even if the person was trespassing on your property. If you have proper fencing, this is not something that you will need to worry about.
Standard Pool Fencing Requirements
Every state, county, and city has its own regulations regarding swimming pools and fencing. Typically, the pool fencing requirements are pretty standard across the board. Let’s take a look at the general guidelines for pool fencing.
- Fencing should be at least 48 inches (four feet) in height
- Spacing between fence rungs or holes should be no larger than 3.5 inches
- There needs to be two inches or less of clearance at the bottom of the fence (this is not applicable if you have the type of fencing that attaches to the pool)
- The gate must be self-closing and self-latching, with the latch at least 48 inches from the ground
A swimming pool is a truly wonderful thing to have on those hot summer days. But, you must ensure that your property is safe for everyone. Check with your municipality and your insurer to ensure that your pool fencing meets all requirements so you can simply sit back and enjoy your pool all summer long without any worries.