Diving boards are perennial fixtures of summer. They make for endless fun and lend that classic look to a backyard swimming pool. In our cautious and litigious age, however, many are left wondering how safe diving boards really are. Is it worth the cost and worry to install a diving board beside your pool?
Diving boards for home swimming pools can be safe, but they demand some care and attention. If you decide on installing a diving board, it’s also a good idea to establish some ground rules. Let’s, well, dive in for a closer look.
Is a Swimming Pool With Diving Board Safe?
Diving boards are associated with a risk of injury, but they are safer than you might think. According to research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, less than 10% of accidental injuries in a swimming pool involve a diving board. Perhaps this is surprising, but it makes sense when you examine why this is the case.
More than half of diving injuries happen in water that is less than five feet deep. Most of these injuries involve a diver striking their head on the bottom of the pool. Diving boards have minimum depth requirements, and they are not installed over pools of such shallow depth. Assuming the diving board is properly installed, it is difficult—but not impossible—for a diver to strike the bottom of the pool after a dive because the deep water slows the diver’s downward momentum. Despite the elevated height, diving from a board is statistically safer than diving from the side of the pool. When accidents involving diving boards do occur, alcohol or trick dives are often factors.
Diving boards can be quite safe when they are properly maintained, installed in a pool of sufficient depth, and used responsibly. The swimming pool itself may well be the greater danger.
How Deep? Swimming Pool for Diving Board and Appropriate Depth
There are a range of recommendations and regulations for water depth in a pool with a diving board. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recommends a depth of7.5 to 9 feet. Laws vary by state and municipality, but local regulations often require a minimum depth of 8 feet.
Water depth requirements are also dependent on the type and height of the diving board. A pool depth of 9 feet is sufficient for a standard residential pool diving board, which is usually pretty stiff and about 16 inches high. Higher boards and springier boards require deeper water. Olympic guidelines, for example, call for water that is 11.5 feet deep for a springboard that is 1 meter high.
There are additional regulations regarding a pool’s length and the slope from the deep end to the shallow end. Experts recommend residential pools be at least 16 feet by 32 feet to accommodate a diving board. Local regulations may require even larger dimensions.
The transition from the deep end, or diving well, to the shallow end must be a gradual slope, and the slope must begin some distance from the diving board. A common guideline is a slope no greater than 11 degrees, but this requirement can also vary by location.
As you can see, there are several measurements to be mindful of to have a safe pool and diving board. If you’re considering building an in-ground pool with a diving board, a qualified pool specialist can help you design a pool that meets all laws and safety recommendations.
Adding Diving Board: Existing Pool Considerations
The best time to incorporate a pool diving board is when you’re in the process of designing and building the pool. There are just so many legal and safety requirements that it can be untenable to add a diving board after the fact.
Diving boards cannot be installed on above-ground pools. These pools are never deep enough to safely accommodate a diving board. If you have an in-ground pool, you’ll need to ensure that your pool’s depth, length, and dimensions are up to code for a diving board. If not, renovating your pool is your only recourse—a very expensive endeavor.
How to Ensure Your Diving Board Is Safe
If you’re building a new pool with a diving board or if your existing pool can accommodate the addition, here are some measures you can take to ensure your family’s safety.
- Inspect your diving board regularly. At the start of the swimming season and periodically throughout, perform a thorough inspection of your diving board. Check the tread on top of the board for wear or peeling and determine if you need to apply a non-slip coating for diving boards. Check under the board for hairline cracks or other damage. Ensure that all hardware is tightly secured and not corroded. If you board has a fulcrum pad, confirm that it is adequately lubricated.
- Keep your diving board clean. Algae and outdoor debris can make a diving board especially slippery. Clean your diving board at least weekly, using a scrub brush and cleaning solution to remove algae and slick grime. Also ensure that your board is free of clutter and obstructions.
- Establish some firm rules. Most diving board-related accidents occur because of irresponsible behavior. Maintain some basic rules for your pool and diving board:
o No running on the diving board
o No diving from the side of the board
o No drinking and diving
o No trick dives
o No diving alone
How to Maintain a Safe Pool
A home pool is a great luxury, but it can be a source of a fair amount of stress. A pool is a liability and requires significant upkeep. If you’re a pool owner, Liberty Home Guard can relieve some of that stress. Our warranty plans cover pool heating, pumping, and filtration systems, so if something goes wrong, you’ll be back in the water in no time. Use our website for a free quote or call (866)-432-1283.