Compilation of Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia
Rule 511-3-5-.18 - Specific Safety Features and Markers

Current through Rules and Regulations filed through September 25, 2023

(1) Handholds. A public pool shall have a suitable handhold around its perimeter in areas where the depth exceeds three feet six inches. Handholds shall be provided no more than four feet apart and shall consist of any one or a combination of the items listed below:

(a) Coping, ledge or deck along the immediate top edge of the pool which provides a slip-resisting surface of at least four inches minimum horizontal width and located at or not more than twelve inches above the waterline; or

(b) Ladders, stairs or seat ledges; or

(c) A railing placed at or not more than twelve inches above the waterline.

(2) Rope and Float Line. A rope and float line shall be provided within one foot of and on the shallow side of the break in grade between the shallow and deep portions of the swimming pool, with its position marked with visible floats at intervals of seven feet or less.

(a) The rope and float line shall be securely fastened to wall anchors of corrosion-resisting materials and of the type which shall be recessed or have no projection that will constitute a hazard when the line is removed.

(b) The line shall be of sufficient size and strength to offer a good handhold and support loads normally imposed by users.

(c) The operator may remove the float line when the pool is used for lap swimming or swim meets. The line must be reattached immediately after completion of the event.

(3) Depth Markers for Swimming Pools. Depth of water in feet and inches shall be plainly and conspicuously marked at or above the waterline on the vertical pool wall and on the top of the coping or edge of the deck or walk next to the pool. The word or abbreviation for "feet" and "inches" must be specified. Where displayed in meters in addition to feet and inches, the word meter shall be spelled out.

(a) Depth markers on the vertical pool wall shall be positioned to be read from the water side. The marker shall be placed to allow as much of the number to be visible above the waterline as possible.

(b) Depth markers on the deck shall be within eighteen inches of the water edge and positioned to be read while standing on the deck facing the water.

(c) Depth markers shall be slip-resistant.

(d) Depth markers shall be installed at the maximum and minimum water depths and at all points of slope change.

(e) Depth markers shall be installed at intermediate increments of water depth of two feet or less, and shall be spaced at intervals of twenty-five feet or less.

(f) Depth markers shall be arranged uniformly on both sides and both ends of the pool.

(g) Depth markers on irregularly shaped pools shall designate depths at all major deviations in shape.

(h) Depth markers number and letters shall be tile and four inches minimum in height. Numbers shall be of contrasting color to the background on which they are applied.

(i) Depth markers shall indicate the actual pool depth within plus or minus three inches, at normal operating level when measured three feet from the pool wall or at the tangent point where the cove radius meets the floor, whichever is deeper.

(j) Interactive water play pools shall not be required to have depth markings or "No Diving" signage.

(4) Depth Markers for Spas. Public spas shall have permanent depth markers with numbers and letters a minimum of four inches high plainly and conspicuously visible from all obvious points of entry and in conformance with subsections (a) thru (f) below:

(a) There shall be a minimum of two depth markers per spa, regardless of spa size or shape.

(b) Depth markers shall be spaced no more than twenty-five feet apart and shall be uniformly located around the perimeter of the spa.

(c) Depth markers shall be positioned on the deck within eighteen inches of the water line.

(d) Depth markers shall be positioned to be read while standing on the deck facing the water.

(e) Depth markers in or on the deck surfaces shall be slip-resisting.

(5) Clock. All public facilities shall have a functioning clock which is visible to spa users.

(6) Water Temperature. The maximum temperature in a spa shall not exceed 104°F (40°C).

(a) The spa operator shall be provided with an accurate thermometer (±1°F tolerance) and shall periodically check to ensure that the maximum temperature does not exceed 104°F.

(b) A means to determine the spa temperature with a ±1°F tolerance shall be provided to the user.

(7) Water Agitation. The agitation system on spas constructed after 31 December 2016 shall be connected to a minute timer that does not exceed fifteen minutes and shall be located out of reach of a bather in the spa.

(8) Emergency shutoff switch. A clearly labeled emergency shutoff switch shall be provided for all pools and spas constructed or remodeled after the adoption of this chapter. The emergency shutoff or control switch shall stop the motors that provide power to the circulation system and hydrotherapy or agitation system pump. The emergency shutoff switch installation shall be installed in accordance with the applicable electrical code.

(9) Lifeguards. All owners, managers, or lifeguards, if provided, shall be responsible for the supervision and safety of the pool, spa, or recreational water park. If lifeguards and safety assistants are provided, then they must hold current, nationally recognized certifications in lifeguarding and a designated title commensurate to the assigned duties. Adult/child/infant CPR and First Aid certifications also must be current. The certificates, or photocopies thereof, shall be maintained at the facility and be available to the local health authority for inspection.

(10) Lifesaving Equipment. All public swimming pools shall have lifesaving equipment conspicuously and conveniently on hand at all times. Lifesaving equipment for special purpose pools may be exempted from this requirement or the requirements will be provided as deemed necessary by Health Authority. The following will be provided:

(a) A light, strong pole not less than twelve feet long including body hook.

(b) A minimum one-fourth inch diameter throwing rope one and one-half times the maximum width of the pool or fifty feet in length, whichever is less, to which has been firmly attached a ring buoy with an outside diameter of approximately fifteen inches or a similar flotation device which is U.S. Coast Guard approved.

(c) An operable, hard-wired, conventional telephone line or continuous powered source, weatherproof emergency phone shall be permanently installed in a conspicuous location within the pool enclosure and must be readily available to bathers at all times. The emergency phone shall be capable of connecting to 911 and electronically transferring an automatic number identification and automatic locator identification of the pool emergency phone to the public safety answering point, if available. A 911 sign or the names and phone numbers of the nearest available police, fire, ambulance service or rescue unit shall be posted nearby.

(11) Barriers. All outdoor swimming pools and spas shall be enclosed by a barrier to prevent entry to the pool area when the pool is closed.

(a) The top of the barrier shall be at least forty eight inches above grade measured on the side of the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool.
1. The maximum vertical clearance between a solid surface and the bottom of the barrier shall be four inches measured on the side of the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool.

2. For non-solid surfaces, the vertical clearance between the bottom of the barrier and the grade shall not exceed two inches for a barrier constructed after adoption of the chapter.

3. Where the top of the pool structure is above grade, the barrier may be at ground level, such as the pool structure.

4. Where the barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure, the maximum vertical clearance between the top of the pool structure and the bottom of the barrier shall be four inches.

(b) Openings in the barrier shall not allow passage of a four inch diameter sphere.

(c) Solid barriers which do not have openings such as a masonry or stone wall, shall not contain indentations or protrusions except for normal construction tolerances and tooled masonry joints.

(d) Where the barrier is composed of horizontal and vertical members and the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is less than forty-five inches, the horizontal members shall be located on the swimming pool side of the fence. Spacing between vertical members shall not exceed one and three-fourth inches in width. Where there are decorative cutouts within vertical members, spacing within the cutouts shall not exceed one and three-fourth inches in width.

(e) Where the barrier is composed of horizontal and vertical members and the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is forty-five inches or more, spacing between vertical members shall not exceed four inches. Where there are decorative cutouts within vertical members, spacing within the cutouts shall not exceed one and three-fourth inches in width.

(f) Maximum size for chain link fences shall be one and three-fourth inches unless the fence is provided with slats fastened at the top or the bottom which reduce the openings to no more than one and three-fourth inches.

(g) Where the barrier is composed of diagonal members, such as a lattice fence, the maximum opening formed by the diagonal members shall be no more than one and three-fourth inches.

(h) Access gates shall also comply with the requirements of this Rule and shall be equipped to accommodate a locking device. Barrier gates shall open away from the pool in facilities constructed after adoption of this chapter. Pedestrian access gates shall be self-closing and have a self-latching device. Gates other than pedestrian access gates shall have a self-latching device. Where the release mechanism of the self-latching device is located less than fifty-four inches from the bottom of the gate,
1. The release mechanism shall be located on the pool side of the gate at least three inches below the top of the gate and

2. Any openings in the gate or barrier located within eighteen inches of the release mechanism shall be less than one-half inch.

3. Mechanisms controlled by an access card reader, key entry device or keypad shall be located on the outside of the access gate.

(i) There shall not be direct access from any dwelling into the pool enclosure. For indoor pools, other means of protection, such as self-closing doors with self-latching devices, keypads, card readers or key entry devices which are approved by the appropriate administrative authority, shall be accepted so long as the degree of protection afforded is not less than the protection of an outdoor facility.

(j) Barriers shall be located so as to prohibit permanent structures, equipment or similar objects from being used to climb the barriers. There shall be a clear zone of not less than thirty-six inches around the exterior of the barrier.

(k) A spa with a safety cover that complies with ASTM F1346,"Performance Specification for Safety Covers and Labeling Requirements for All Covers for Swimming Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs" shall be exempt from the provisions of this section. Swimming pools with safety covers shall not be exempt from the provisions of this rule.

(l) Windows on a building that form part of a barrier around a pool shall have a maximum opening width not to exceed four inches. If designed to be opened, windows shall also be provided with a non-removable screen.

(m) For a passage through a wall separating the indoor portion of a pool from an outdoor portion of the same pool, the overhead clearance of the passage to the pool floor shall be at least six feet eight inches to any solid structure overhead.

(12) Warning Signs for Swimming Pools. Signs shall be provided as follows:

(a) The words "No Diving" and the universal international symbol for "NO DIVING" shall be permanently visible at the edge of the deck for water five feet in depth or less, placed only on the deck beside the depth markers, and shall conform to that outlined for depth markers in subsections (3)(a) thru (h) above.

(b) Where no lifeguard is on duty, a sign or signs shall be placed in clear view at or near the entrance to the pool and shall state in clearly legible letters at least four inches high


(c) The same sign in subsection (b) above or an additional sign will state under the heading "Pool Risks" the following items in clearly legible letters at least one inch high:
1. Shower before entering the water.

2. Children shall not use pool without an adult in attendance.

3. Adults should not swim alone.

4. All children three years old and younger and any child not potty-trained must wear snug fitting plastic pants or a water resistant swim diaper.

5. Do not swim if the suction outlets are missing, broken, or not clearly visible from the deck.

6. No glass articles allowed in or around pool.

7. Do not swallow the pool water.

8. Do not dive unless diving area is clear of other bathers.

9. Do not swim if you had diarrhea within the past two weeks.

10. No animals are allowed in the pool or pool enclosure, except service animals are allowed on the deck.

(13) Warning Signs for Spas. Signs shall be provided as follows:

(a) Signage which states safety, emergency and operational aspects of the spa, shall be prominently located near the spa.

(b) Warning signs for spas shall be in clear view of the spa and prominently displayed. Signs shall state the spa's address, the location of the nearest telephone with references that emergency telephone numbers are posted at the location. These emergency telephone numbers should include the name and phone number of the nearest available police, fire or ambulance service, and "911" if available. Signs shall include, but not be limited to the following messages:
1. Risk of Fetus Damage. Hot water exposure limitations vary from person to person. Pregnant women and small children should not use spa without medical approval.

2. Risk of Drowning. Other persons suffering from heart disease, diabetes, high or low blood pressure, and other health problems should not enter the spa without medical approval.

3. Risk of Drowning. Do not use the spa while under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or drugs that cause sleepiness and drowsiness or raise/lower blood pressure.

4. Risk of Drowning. Use caution when bathing alone. Overexposure to hot water may cause nausea, dizziness, and fainting. Lower water temperatures are recommended for young children and for extended use (more than10-15 minutes).

5. Risk of Drowning. Do not use or operate spa if the suction fitting is missing, broken, or loose.

6. Risk of Child Drowning. Unsupervised use by children is prohibited. Children under five shall not use the spa.

7. Risk of Injury. Check spa temperature before entering. The spa temperature should not exceed 104°F.

8. Risk of Injury. Enter and exit slowly.

9. Risk of Injury. Keep all glass and breakable objects out of the spa area.

10. Risk of Shock. Never place electrical appliances (telephone, radio, or televisions) within five feet of the spa.

(c) A sign shall be posted stating the hours of operation in clear view near the entrance and shall state the theoretical peak occupancy.

(14) In all swimming pools built prior to December 31, 2016 which have floor slopes greater than that allowed in this chapter or which have other construction variances to this chapter, the health authority may require a warning sign stating the possible hazard to be posted in public view.

(15) Obstructions and Entrapment Avoidance. There shall be no obstructions that might injure or entrap a user. Types of entrapment include, but are not limited to, wedge or pinch-type openings and rigid cantilevered protrusions.

(16) At least one drinking fountain shall be provided and available to users at the pool site.

(17) A minimum of one rinse shower shall be provided on the pool deck of all public pools and spas. Water used for rinse showers may be at ambient temperature.

(18) Class C multi-family residential housing pools are exempt from the requirements of (17) and (18) of the rule, if the facility is only open to residents and their guests.

O.C.G.A. §§ 31-2A-6, 31-12-8, 31-45-10.

Original Rule entitled "Specific Safety Features" adopted. F. Oct. 15, 2013; eff. Nov. 4, 2013.

Repealed: New Rule entitled "Specific Safety Features and Markers" adopted. F. Jan. 11, 2017; eff. Jan. 31, 2017.

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