Do your members sign a waiver before each pool season?
It goes without saying that your club should have insurance. It also goes without saying that any third-party lifeguarding company you hire should be a reputable company with insurance of its own.
Neighborhood pools are not public pools, so they are not required to follow the same rules as public pools. With that said, neighborhood pools are not private residential pools either, so there are more regulations for a neighborhood pool than there are for a residential pool in the backyard of a single-family home.
In general, your pool should be covered under your club’s property and liabilities insurance policies. This generally covers incidents related to things like the facility itself, lifeguards, staff, equipment, etc. Make sure your president checks in with your club’s insurance agent each year before the pool season starts to make sure there aren’t any new regulations in your state and to determine whether an umbrella policy or excess liability policy might be a good idea (e.g., an extra policy for the swim team).
Listen, we’re not insurance agents here at Pool Dues. Our raison d’être is to help your club run more smoothly, make the online experience better for your members, and take some of the burden off your board members. We can’t tell you what the regulations are for your club since regulations vary from state to state.
No matter where your club is located though, pool signage is your friend. It is an absolute must for all type of pools – public, private, and club pools. Whether or not your club requires members and their guests to sign a waiver, you need to have signage somewhere indicating the pool safety rules, shallow water diving warnings, restricted areas, and occupancy numbers.
A very simple agreement could, however, look something like this:
I, the applicant, by checking below, wish for myself, my spouse (if applicable), and our children (if applicable) to utilize the facilities at [NAME OF POOL], included but not limited to the swimming pool, playground, tennis courts, and grounds. I understand the inherent risk of injury when participating in activities at [NAME OF POOL]. I hereby release, hold harmless, and forever discharge [NAME OF POOL], its board of directors and members for any and all injuries, damages, claims, demands, causes of action judgments and liabilities, in law or in equity, however arising, known or unknown, now or in the future and to the fullest extent permitted by law which may arise out of or as a result of use of the facilities.
Again, we are not insurance agents or lawyers, so we can’t tell you whether your members need to sign a waiver or not. We can’t tell you exactly what regulations are required in your area. And we can’t tell you what your legal liability is for any given situation. Your insurance agent and your counsel are the people to ask. What we can tell you is that your board needs to keep up-to-date on this stuff.