I live in a community of neighbours and we have a community pool. Is it obligatory to hire a lifeguard?

In the first place, it must be remembered that single-family pools and those of neighboring communities in which the capacity of all their vessels,(with the exception of the splash glass) have a theoretical capacity of fewer than 100 people, will be considered “private pools”.

It should also be noted that there is no uniform regulatory and state regulation of this matter. Each Autonomous Community enjoys its own regulation.

That said, we will refer, as an example, to what is provided by the legislation of the Autonomous Community of Valencia


Royal Decree 742/2013, of September 27, establishes the technical-sanitary criteria of both public and private swimming pools. This regulation describes the basic criteria on safety and hygiene of water and its facilities so as not to cause health risks, especially in community pools.


The regulations define swimming pools for private use, such as those for the family, neighbors, and guests of the owners, differentiating community pools and single-family pools. Therefore, we will not discuss the regulations applicable to public access pools (sports centers, municipal swimming pools).


Regulations for private single-family pools


 Private swimming pools in single-family homes do not have regulations regarding safety and cleaning measures. The owner of the house is responsible for taking care of the maintenance of the pool and keeping it in a good condition. He is also responsible for informing the authorities if incidents occur such as drowning, poisoning or other serious injuries.


 In these private pools, it will be the responsibility of the owner to follow a series of recommendations to enjoy the pool as a family.  Especially with the supervision of the youngest ones:


  • Supervision of the state and cleanliness of the water (suitable pH, anti-algae chlorine, flocculant, filter and water pump)
  • Adequate maintenance of the facilities, paying attention to the security elements (fences, covers, alarms)
  • Surveillance of the children’s bathroom, showing them proper behavior in the pool (not running in slippery areas, jumping over other children, playing with drains, etc.)
  • Have a basic emergency team, as well as having a telephone number for emergency services.


Regulations for communal swimming pools


  • Community swimming pools are subject to a series of rules of use. Neighborhood community is responsible for ensuring that the facilities have the right elements to prevent any risks and ensure the safety of the pool.


  • The regulation says how the water in the pool should be treated – which chemical substances and mixtures can be used as a treatment, informs about the opening season, the hours of use and the rules of conduct (wearing sportswear, showering before bathing , use a hat or forbid using sunbath creams before entering the water), as well as having a lifeguard and have control of access to the site


  • The community of owners can have their own rules of the internal regime that complete the autonomic and municipal regulations. This regulation must be placed in a visible place and establish, among other rules, the capacity of the pool, the clothing to be used, as well as the opening hours. It should also indicate the location of the kit and meet the hygienic-sanitary conditions established by current regulations, such as performing a daily cleaning of the facilities.
  • Check the facilities: Prior to opening, it should be checked that the facilities, such as the showers, the interior of the glass (tiles not detached or broken), pavements or steps with non-slip to avoid slips, well-attached stairs, etc., are in good condition state.


  • Insurance and accidents: The Horizontal Property Law does not oblige the communities to arrange a civil liability insurance to cover physical damage to pool users, but it is recommended. If a mishap occurs due to the negligence of the community, the compensation must be borne by the community itself.


  • Extend the vigilance of minors: The main cause of accidents in swimming pools is due to lack of vigilance. It is advisable that minors are always accompanied by an adult. Likewise, the community must prohibit jumping to the edge of the pool, perform activities in a violent manner or enter the pool with any type of object that may cause damage to the rest of bathers (mat, balls, etc.)
  • Hiring a lifeguard: depending on the number of homes and the size of the vessel, the regulations may exempt the community from having a lifeguard, but it is always advisable to hire a professional with a sufficient knowledge.


Monitor the state of the protection elements: In order to avoid accidents, it is important to ensure that all the protection elements of bathers (swimming pool fencing, lifebuoys, etc.) are in optimal conditions.

Have an access control service: It is convenient that at the entrance of the premises there is a person who takes control and prevents access to third parties from outside the community. Likewise, limiting the number of invitations per home through tickets will prevent inappropriate use.

Appeal to the responsibility of the user: Given that the pool, outside working hours, must remain inaccessible to users, the people who access it, saving the security measures will be, in case of the accident, directly responsible.


Limit the use of the pool in the rented dwellings: If the dwelling is rented, owner and tenant can not simultaneously use this service. Normally, unless they agreed between the parties, the landlord loses in favor of the tenant all their privileges with respect to the use and enjoyment of the common elements, such as the pool, even when running the costs of community fees.

Remember the prohibition of smoking in children’s areas: The Anti-Tobacco Law allows smoking in the outdoor areas of the community of owners, but not in the recreational areas for children, such as children’s pools. Therefore, except for areas intended for children, in the rest of the spaces of the pool enclosure you can smoke.

Remove architectural barriers: The community must adapt the access and eliminate architectural barriers in accordance with the provisions of the various state and regional laws.