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Public Pool Etiquette 101

Updated on May 7, 2015
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Jeannie has been writing online for over 10 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—hobbies, opinions, dating advice, and more!

The time has come...

It's that time of year again! It is time for the pool. You know what else it is time to experience? I think another etiquette hub is long overdue. So why not a hub about proper public pool etiquette? It's time to explore the topic of public pool etiquette.

Maybe you belong to a gym with a pool. Perhaps you are lucky enough to get to go on a real vacation this summer and you are going to stay at a resort with a pool. You might even be like me and live in an apartment building with a community pool. No matter what situation applies to you, a public pool is a place where we need to follow some rules and remember our manners just like any other place.

Don't pee in the pool!

First things first, let's talk about peeing in the pool. I know what you are thinking, "That is so gross! I don't want to think about that." It is something we must all confront. Sometimes in life there are some very sensitive topics, but we must still approach them with dignity and maturity.

So, back to what I was saying - no peeing in the pool! For that matter, no poop in the pool either! I know it is hard to imagine that some people are doing this in the pool, but the rumors are true. There are people that imagine the public pool is the public restroom. Perhaps they have a bladder issue or maybe they are just too lazy to leave the pool when they need to use the bathroom. No matter the situation, don't pee in the pool! If you can't control your bladder, don't get in the pool. There are some things chlorine just can't erase.

While we are on the "gross" topic, no spitting, throwing up, or having sex in the pool. Yeah, I said it! And you know who you are! All of those activities are fine in your private pool (well, really not, but it's your pool), but if it's a public pool, nope. Just say no to being disgusting in the pool.

Did you bring some for everyone?

Ah, nothing is better than lounging around by the pool relaxing. It can be so much fun snacking, drinking some iced tea, and laying out in the sun. You know what isn't fun? Please do not bring a grill (even a small portable grill) to the pool and break out hamburgers. Did you bring some for everyone? If so, hey, OK... you are really awesome after all. If not, go away, Grill Master! You are making me hungry and probably breaking some pool rules. Don't make me send the lifeguard after you.

Don't ruin my day with your annoying kids.

Do you have a bunch of kids? Are they annoying? Be honest; you know if you have annoying children. If your kids are obnoxious and they are bringing their obnoxious friends, either limit their time at the pool or make them behave.

I go to the pool to relax. I don't need splash fights and beach balls flying at my head. I want to go to my section of the pool, pretend I can swim, and float around on my little float. That is really what many of us want at the pool. Please do not subject everyone to your unruly little brats.

Also, if your kids can't swim, how about you keep a close eye on them? I don't know CPR and not every public pool has a lifeguard. So let's not make this relaxing day take a dramatic turn. Watch your children in the pool. If you can't control them, don't take them to the pool.

The Lifeguard is Not a Babysitter

While we are on the topic of watching your children, I would like to discuss another issue I noticed this weekend. The lifeguard is not a babysitter!

If you have children, don't just go to the pool, leave them there, and assume the lifeguard will watch your kids. The lifeguard is sitting there making sure none of the swimmers drown. That is her job. Her job is not to make sure your kid doesn't get out of the pool and wander over to the vending machines. That is YOUR job as the parent.

You see, when you opted to have children, you opted to be responsible for them. You should make sure they don't get into trouble and that type of thing. I know those pesky kids don't come with an owner's manual, but there are plenty of library books on the subject of child rearing. If you are having difficulty on the whole "having kids and being responsible for them" issue, perhaps you should check out some helpful books on the subject.

No, even the shark outfit won't make it OK to bring your dog to the pool.
No, even the shark outfit won't make it OK to bring your dog to the pool. | Source

Leave Your Pets at Home

I understand that Fido and Fifi might enjoy swimming in the pool just like anyone else, but don't bring your pets to a public pool. No one wants to deal with animal hair in the pool. It is bad enough dealing with human hair! Also, I don't know if you noticed, but wet dog is not the best smell in the world.

Yes, your pets are cute. No, they can't come to the pool.

Let's talk about proper attire.

Oh, man! It's another sensitive subject. Let's talk about the proper outfit for the pool. Here are some examples of not so great wardrobe ideas for the public pool:

  • Jeans
  • Running shoes
  • Complete t-shirt and shorts/capris outfit while in pool.
  • Pajamas
  • Thong
  • No clothes at all!

Please wear a nice bathing suit, bikini, tankini, tank top with bikini bottom, shorts, etc. at the pool. Also, and this is a touchy subject, please consider your weight when picking out the proper outfit. I hate to say this, but not everyone can wear a speedo or string bikini. Don't feel bad about it! It is OK to wear a one piece or a tankini. Those outfits are cute! At least that is what my friends tell me when I wear them.

Don't be a creeper.

Yes, I realize everyone at the pool is pretty close to being naked. I know some people do not get out much. I see how that can be really excited. Guess what? Staring is not polite. So stop. I think I've said enough.


Obey all the safety rules!

Oh wait, did a serious topic manage to work its way into one of my etiquette hubs? Why, yes, it did. While you are at the pool, please take note of the rules. They could just possibly save your life. If the lifeguard needs the pool cleared once an hour, do it. They are only trying to keep you safe. If you are not supposed to dive into certain sections of the pool, don't dive. Obviously, that rule is in place for a reason. Cracking your head open at the bottom of the pool is probably not high on your to-do list. Then, of course, everyone would have to deal with blood in the pool, and if you thought pee in the pool was gross, well....

OK, I lost track there, but the public pool rules exist for a reason. So while at the public pool this summer, have fun, but stay safe. Follow the rules, mind your manners, and enjoy your summer!


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