As the weather heats up, pools, lakes, water parks and beaches swell with people trying to beat the heat – and win a game of Marco Polo. Keep the fun going by making sure all participating in the water activities know vital and important safety rules: All recreational water facilities have a duty to warn participants and customers because water can be a very real hazard. Kids that venture out past where they can touch, people diving in water not deep enough, people falling into pool, swimming after dark, horseplay that gets too rough or thinking there’s a lifeguard when there is not – are just a few hazards common around recreational water areas. Durable, water-resistant signs and floor marking tape as well as stencils are ideal for sharing safety information and rules in swimming areas.

Required Signs for Pool Areas

Most pools and other recreational swimming areas have a large sign affixed to a fence with a long list of rules. This is usually the municipal and state mandated signage required. The flaw in this method of pool safety signage is that it doesn’t grab people’s attention nor does it really help them remember the rules.

Pool Rules Sign

Visual cues should continuously make people aware of nearby hazards and how to avoid serious injury or death. Typical safety signs you see as you walk into a pool area, a public lake access or a waterpark have between 10 and 20 bulleted rules. This list mixes up rules about not eating by the water with things like “Don’t dive or you may die.” Clearly the rule about no diving should be given more attention, but it’s usually buried among the other rules. While this sign is in compliance with rules, laws and regulations for the facility and the location, long, text-only lists of rules it don’t do the most to protect people in the water.

Choose Better Signs for Pools and Recreation Areas

According to the Aquatic Safety Research Group, the four most important safety rules for a pool area are: No Diving in Shallow Water, Non-Swimmers Should Wear Life Jackets, Watch Your Children, and No Long Breathing Under Water. We suggest using visual cues in a variety of ways to best communicate hazards in recreational swimming locations. This includes fence signs, pavement stencils and pavement signs—all using a combination of visual graphics and text.

Fence/Wall Signs for Pool Locations

It is important to have life-saving rules front and center for customers/participants to see when they enter the location. We recommend having rules like NO LIFEGUARD ON DUTY, WATCH YOUR CHILDREN, NON-SWIMMERS WEAR FLOATING VEST and NO DIVING on a sign affixed to the entrance of the facility, as well as other clearly visible locations. These rules should be displayed as visual graphics and text. Have these rules repeated throughout the area where playing and swimming is happening, If there’s a locker room, make sure they’re displayed in there as well.

If there is a concession area, this would be a good place to have an adhesive sign on the wall with the rules where customers can eat, prohibitons of glass or alcohol and where to put trash and recyclables. Use a mix of text and graphics. You don’t have to put all the rules on one sign. By separating hazard rules from food and comfort rules and using different colors and graphics, you can communicate more effectively.

Stencils to Create Additional Safety Messages

Kids running around pools are the number one cause of accidents at pool facilities. One great way to address this hazard is to use a stencil to paint a large NO RUNNING sign on the pavement around the pool. While it’s not 100 percent effective, it is highly visible. Stencils can also be used to paint directional arrows, to label locker rooms, parking lots or concession areas.

We specialize in creating top-of-the-line stencils that allow you to quickly paint safety messages and warnings on the pavement or wall of facility. These stencils can contain graphics as well as letters. Stop-Painting makes two types of stencils—economical Durolast and heavy-duty Maxilast—to meet your unique needs.

Adhesive Signs for Walls and Pavement

In addition to signs on the fence, another option for communicating messages is via adhesive signs, either on available wall space around the water or on the pavement. Our floor signs come in come in two options, rubber and permanent inlaid. Best for medium-duty applications, our rubber floor signs feature a self-cleaning urethane top coat that’s best used on uneven surfaces. Our heavy-duty permanent inlaid floor signs feature a durable epoxy coating with a high-gloss finish that make them even more durable. Rubber signs are great for walls, and we can create a custom sign with your choice of graphics or text to make it the most effective for your environment.

The point of safety signs is to save lives. Don’t just provide signs that meet compliance regulations. Offer the best safety messages possible to keep swimmers in your water area safe. By mixing text with graphics and using a variety of mediums and signage products, you can most effectively communicate and keep safety a priority. Explore our Resource Center for more information and guidelines to keep visitors safe.