State Laws

The Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act (Chapter 515, Florida Statutes) requires pool safety measures for pools built after October 1, 2000. It is the intent of the Legislature that all new residential swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs be equipped with at least one pool safety feature as specified below. 

Download the Consumer Safety Brochure about barriers required by Section 515.31(2).

To know more about how your pool should meet Florida’s Building Codes, please refer to the Florida Residential Building Code Chapter 45 and Florida Building Code Chapter 4 Section 454 for the current standards.

There are additional requirements for public swimming pools that can be found by in the Florida Administrative Code.

More information about public swimming pools is also available at the Department of Health's Public Swimming Pools webpage.

 

Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act Summary

  1. A pool fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate—enclosing the pool and providing no direct access to it.
  2. An approved pool cover which is fitted to your pool; a simple canvas covering can be a drowning hazard and can entrap a child in the water.
  3. Alarms on all doors and windows leading out to the pool.
  4. A self-closing, self-latching device on all doors that provide direct access from the home to the pool; the release mechanism must be no lower than 54 inches above the floor.

The Florida Department of Health recommends, at a minimum, using a combination of the barriers described above to help ensure your pool is equipped with approved safety features.

 

 

515.23 Legislative findings and intent.

The Florida Legislature finds that drowning is the leading cause of death of young children in this state and is also a significant cause of death for medically frail elderly persons in this state, that constant adult supervision is the key to accomplishing the objective of reducing the number of submersion incidents, and that when lapses in supervision occur a pool safety feature designed to deny, delay, or detect unsupervised entry to the swimming pool, spa, or hot tub will reduce drowning and near-drowning incidents. In addition to the incalculable human cost of these submersion incidents, the health care costs, loss of lifetime productivity, and legal and administrative expenses associated with drownings of young children and medically frail elderly persons in this state each year and the lifetime costs for the care and treatment of young children who have suffered brain disability due to near-drowning incidents each year are enormous. Therefore, it is the intent of the Florida Legislature that all new residential swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs be equipped with at least one pool safety feature as specified in this chapter. It is also the intent of the legislature that the Department of Health be responsible for producing its own or adopting a nationally recognized publication that provides the public with information on drowning prevention and the responsibilities of pool ownership and also for developing its own or adopting a nationally recognized drowning prevention education program for the public and for persons violating the pool safety requirements of this chapter.


 

515.27 Residential swimming pool safety feature options; penalties.

  1. In order to pass final inspection and receive a certificate of completion, a residential swimming pool must meet at least one of the following requirements relating to pool safety features:

    1. The pool must be isolated from access to a home by an enclosure that meets the pool barrier requirements of s. 515.29;

    2. The pool must be equipped with an approved safety pool cover;

    3. All doors and windows providing direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with an exit alarm that has a minimum sound pressure rating of 85 dB A at 10 feet; or

    4. All doors providing direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor.

  2. A person who fails to equip a new residential swimming pool with at least one pool safety feature as required in subsection (1) commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, except that no penalty shall be imposed if the person, within 45 days after arrest or issuance of a summons or a notice to appear, has equipped the pool with at least one safety feature as required in subsection (1) and has attended a drowning prevention education program established by s. 515.31. However, the requirement of attending a drowning prevention education program is waived if such program is not offered within 45 days after issuance of the citation.


515.29 Residential swimming pool barrier requirements.

  1. A residential swimming pool barrier must have all of the following characteristics:

    1. The barrier must be at least four feet high on the outside.

    2. The barrier may not have any gaps, openings, indentations, protrusions, or structural components that could allow a young child to crawl under, squeeze through, or climb over the barrier.

    3. The barrier must be placed around the perimeter of the pool and must be separate from any fence, wall, or other enclosure surrounding the yard unless the fence, wall, or other enclosure or portion thereof is situated on the perimeter of the pool, is being used as part of the barrier, and meets the barrier requirements of this section.

    4. The barrier must be placed sufficiently away from the water's edge to prevent a young child or medically frail elderly person who may have managed to penetrate the barrier from immediately falling into the water.

  2. The structure of an aboveground swimming pool may be used as its barrier or the barrier for such a pool may be mounted on top of its structure; however, such structure or separately mounted barrier must meet all barrier requirements of this section. In addition, any ladder or steps that are the means of access to an aboveground pool must be capable of being secured, locked, or removed to prevent access or must be surrounded by a barrier that meets the requirements of this section.

  3. Gates that provide access to swimming pools must open outward away from the pool and be self-closing and equipped with a self-latching locking device, the release mechanism of which must be located on the pool side of the gate and so placed that it cannot be reached by a young child over the top or through any opening or gap.

  4. A wall of a dwelling may serve as part of the barrier if it does not contain any door or window that opens to provide access to the swimming pool.

  5. A barrier may not be located in a way that allows any permanent structure, equipment, or similar object to be used for climbing the barrier.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

Florida leads the country in drowning deaths of children ages 1-4.


Over 90% of Florida's home swimming pools were built before the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act took effect.


Download WaterSmartFL materials to learn more.


RESOURCES