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Dive Into Safety: Pool Signage Requirements in Community Associations

Written by: Dana Marron, Esq.

May | 6

Pool Signage Requirements in Community Associations


Diving into pool season and pool rules

It’s time to dive into pool signage! California considers community association pools to be “public pools” for the purpose of the California Building Code’s (“CBC”) pool signage requirements. As your community prepares for pool season, take a moment ensure your pool signs are up to date with current law. Unless specified otherwise, the following signs must be posted in a location visible to all pool users, with letters or numbers that are clearly legible and no less than 4 inches in height.

No Lifeguard

A sign that reads “NO LIFEGUARD ON DUTY” must be posted when there is no lifeguard service provided. In addition, effective January 1, 2020, the sign must also state in letters at least one (1) inch high: “Children should not use pool without a parent or adult guardian in attendance.”


Make sure that your community pool does not have the following outdated sign:

“Children under the age of 14 shall not use pool without a parent or guardian in attendance.”

A U.S. District Court in California held that this prohibition discriminates against families with children. The CBC guidelines have been updated, eliminating the specific age reference and adopting less prohibitive language.

Ironically, this recent change in the law was intended to address potential discrimination against families with children. While this latest iteration of the law is less discriminatory than prior versions, the use of the word “children” is still problematic. In general, to steer clear of fair housing challenges, community associations should avoid use of the word children, and instead adopt behavior-focused restrictions. Nonetheless, the CBC is clear; associations must post the sign with the specific language used in the statute, including use of the word children.While such language is obligatory for pool signs, we urge community association boards to avoid using the word children in the pool rules or elsewhere in the governing documents.

Capacity Sign

A sign must indicate the maximum number of pool users permitted for each pool. If you aren’t sure, consult with licensed, insured pool experts to determine the legal maximum for your specific pool.

No Diving

Signs must be posted in conspicuous places and state, “NO DIVING” at pools with a maximum water depth of six (6) feet or less.

Artificial Respiration and CPR Sign

This sign must include an illustrated diagram with text at least ¼ inch high of artificial respiration and cardiopulmonary resuscitation procedures.

Emergency Sign

This sign must include the emergency phone number 911 not less than four (4) inches high, the number of the nearest emergency services, and the name and street address of the pool facility with numbers and text not less than one (1) inch high.

No Use After Dark

For pools constructed when lighting was not required, a sign must be posted at each pool entrance on the outside of the gate(s) stating, “NO USE OF POOL ALLOWED AFTER DARK.”

Keep Closed

A sign must be posted on the exterior side of gates and doors leading into the pool enclosure area stating, “KEEP GATE CLOSED” or “KEEP DOOR CLOSED.”


A sign must be posted at the entrance of the pool in letters at least one (1) inch high that clearly states persons with currently active diarrhea and persons who have had diarrhea within the previous 14 days shall not enter the pool water.

Gaseous Oxidizer

If your pool uses automatic gaseous chlorine chemical feeders, contact your association’s legal counsel for additional signage requirements.

Spa Signs

CBC Section 3120B.7 requires the following:

A warning sign for spa pools shall be posted stating, “CAUTION” and shall include the following language in letters at least 1 inch high:

Elderly persons, pregnant women, infants and those with health conditions requiring medical care should consult with a physician before entering the spa.

Children should not use spa without adult supervision.

Hot water immersion while under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, drugs or medicines may lead to serious consequences and is not recommended.

Do not use alone.

Long exposure may result in hyperthermia, nausea, dizziness or fainting.

Community associations must also post capacity signs at their spas, as well as a sign by the spa emergency shut-off switch, stating, in letters at least one-inch high, “EMERGENCY SHUT-OFF SWITCH.”

Tip: Again, for spas, as with pools, make sure that your community does not contain outdated signs referencing children under the age of 14.

The CBC sign requirements are explicit and this is not an area where the board has discretion. By complying with signage requirements, community associations can create a safer environment for all who enjoy the common area amenities.


Does your association need pool rules? Learn more here.