Enforce Pools Rules

Uphold all pool rules consistently and fairly.

Pool rules are important. They help protect swimmers from the most common water- and pool-related injuries, and they also make a lifeguard’s job easier. Pool rules lose their effectiveness, however, when a lifeguard fails to uphold the rules consistently with all swimmers.

Know All of the Rules

Every lifeguard needs to know every pool rule. If a single lifeguard forgets about a particular rule swimmers may view that as leniency, which may make it difficult for other lifeguards to successfully enforce the same rule at a later time. The timeless “but that lifeguard didn’t stop us from doing _________” can be a frustrating interaction for even the most patient and experienced guard. In-service trainings are a great time to remind lifeguards of each of the pool’s rules.

Know Why the Rules Exist

Before any lifeguard can be expected to enforce a pool’s rules, they need to know why the rule exists in the first place. A canned response like, “Because I said so” isn’t going to fly with today’s younger generation. To be truly persuasive and effective, a lifeguard may need to sit down with a swimmer and explain exactly why it is important to clear the pool during a thunderstorm, or why a pair of floaties are insufficient for non-swimmers.

You need to remember that swimmers don’t spend nearly as much time at the pool as you do; some rules that you think are extremely clear, may be confusing or contradictory to their original point of view. If you feel that you are unable to persuasively convince a swimmer of the importance of a rule, speak with your supervisor and discuss your concerns, or visit our Aquatic Safety Tips page to read stories about common water-related injuries.

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