swimming pool association

When is it safe to swim?

KAPLAN_GARYGary Kaplan
Ike’s Carter Pool Companies, Inc.


Often in the daily routine of service professionals, the perspective of performing a service call follows our client’s view and is only visual.

Did you clean the tile? Can you make sure to system vacuum the pool? Did you brush the sides? When is the last time you cleaned the filter? The biggest question: when is it safe to swim?

Typically at a weekly service call we adjust the chemicals to properly sanitize the water. Based on amounts of required sanitizers added, standard answers for the last question vary from a few minutes to a couple of hours. But what are we missing?

A customer opens the windows, looks at the sparkling water and sees a clean pool from tile to floor, and feels our job is done! But is it? As swimming pool professionals our job needs to be more about what lies beneath than visually what looks clean and inviting to the eye.

Don’t get caught up on how fast we can make the pool look inviting without taking a moment to step back from our daily routines and be observant from a 360 degree view for the pool occupants. How are the surroundings? Are loose unsecured coping and trip hazards present? Are all the barriers in place? Are all gates in operational order, whereas to be self-closing and latching (assume the client goes through the gates even if you know they are never used)? Is the pool equipment clear of debris and vegetation which can cause limited/no access, shortening life and performance and in some extreme cases even being a fire hazard? If the system needs to be shut off, does the homeowner know how and have unlimited access?

The swimming pool users rely on us to be observant and can often take for granted that everything is okay from the surface. Many clients have not gone by their pool equipment for months or even years! How is the overall visual appearance of the equipment? Are there exposed electrical wires requiring the attention of a qualified electrical contractor?

Service is the backbone of our industry, the front line of defense. Waiting for the client to notice something may be a costly assumption that everything is working well. Many times it is not until the pool requires a repair or renovation that problems are brought to an unsuspecting pool owner.

The pool user often assumes weekly service is a weekly check-up and that “okay” on a service ticket indicating weekly service was performed is a sign-off that the pool is safe.

We should not assume the customer notices water in the light, the main drain cover is loose or other issues beyond algae or debris in the pool. Taking a few moments and making a quick observation of all the swimming pool surroundings can help provide all swimming pool users a friendlier and safer environment to enjoy.

Whatever level, as aquatic professionals safety is everyone’s responsibility and often can be profitable for your bottom line!

Observation, communication, and stepping back for a moment to remember when a client asks, “when is it safe to swim,” is more than a question about sanitation but a responsibility of all swimming pool professionals.

Don’t assume the homeowner knows their swimming pool and always recommend a professional to perform necessary repairs within their scope of license and abilities.

Swimming season is around the corner. Let’s all provide the swimming pool owner, friends, and family a safe and fun experience.

Below The Surface the Industry blog

Ken McKenna FSPA President The countdown is on: it’s 100 days until the 2018 Everything Under the Sunsm Expo! My first thought was to give you 100 reasons to attend, but that might be a little excessive. So here are a few top reasons which come to mind. As a member of FSPA, admission to […]

Ray Pearen Fresh Finish Pools Who of us out there hasn’t seen a bad equipment installation?  Pump motors right up against the wall, 90° PVC in front of and straight out of the pump, heaters before filters and salt cells before heaters, the list could go on and on. As installers, sometimes we are forced […]

Ray Kurilavicius DART Pool Solutions *The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the FSPA. Please confirm the work permissible under your license.*   That time of year is fast approaching; heating season will be here in no time. This long hot […]