Stenciled warnings, floor signs, and other visual cues can help aquatic facilities meet regulatory codes and enforce rules to reduce injuries and illnesses. Floor signs communicate pool rules and set expectations for guest behavior at splash pads, pools, and hot tubs. Read on to see how using visual cues for public environments can help keep bathers safe from health and safety hazards in aquatic venues.

Public Pool Health and Safety Regulations

Whether you are an apartment complex owner or a public pool manager, you should always consult and follow all applicable local, state, tribal, or territorial pool codes. The CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) guidelines¹ for public swimming pools and spas is another resource for best practices to prevent injuries and swimming-related illnesses in aquatic venues. Individual states may enforce their own regulations or adopt MAHC, but pool owners can proactively follow the MAHC to improve safety beyond the minimum.

Safety Solutions for Aquatic Facilities

Pool safety signs need to be visible and easy to read so all guests are aware of the facility rules and potential hazards. When deciding which type of markings are best for your aquatic venue, consult local and state regulations to determine font size, message style, and other requirements. All markings should be appropriate for the surface and environment. Here are types of visual cues to consider for public pools:

Semi-Permanent and Permanent Floor Markings

Floor markings around pool perimeters should not pose trip or slip hazards. When looking for floor signs for indoor spaces, choose options that include an anti-skid laminate help keep visitors safe: Our vinyl and rubber floor sign materials may be good options. Outdoors, pavement markings can help communicate pool rules, offer directional cues, and provide safety information. For use in areas not exposed to moisture or other slip hazards, inlaid floor signs sealed with epoxy can produce a message that lasts—but be aware that the epoxy coating may become slippery in wet areas. A nonslip sign is a safer solution in pool areas or spaces exposed to the elements.

Swimming Pool Stencils

Painting messaging using stencils is a suitable alternative to adhesive-backed or permanent inlaid markings, and you can achieve nearly any simple text, symbol, or warning to encourage safe behavior in and around the pool. Our safety stencils can be used to paint notices that alert everyone that smoking, diving, running, or glass containers are not allowed. Our stencils lay flat so imprints are crisp, clean, and easy to understand.

Anti-Slip Tape for Pool Steps and Play Areas

Many safety guidelines for aquatic venues require pool decks and stair treads to be maintained to prevent slips and falls, and one way to do this is with anti-slip tape. There are many styles of grip tape to improve traction in these locations, but make certain the one you choose is rated for bare feet and wet environments. Consider a brightly colored grip tape for pool steps to make the stairs even more visible.

Where to Use Floor Markings to Enforce Pool Safety

Using floor markings to reinforce pool rules and expectations helps everyone understand how to use the facility safely. Going beyond the minimum and providing extra notices from the locker room to the pool deck helps inform everyone of the rules, no matter which entrance they use. Strengthen your pool safety signs using these ideas to get started.

Safety Notices at Waterslides and Splash Pads

Posting pool signs and safety warnings at waterslide entry points informs riders how to correctly enter the slide or ride on the tube. Similarly, adding No Running, No Diving, and other warning signage at indoor and outdoor splash pads and pools helps reinforce rules and provide timely safety reminders to prevent accidents and injuries.

Depth Markers on Pool Decks

One type of pool safety sign required by state laws and MAHC is a pool depth marker. Create these with letter and number stencils and paint that’s deemed suitable for a pool area. Our reusable stencils hold up to repeat applications so you can mark the perimeter as many times as you need to meet pool codes. For an even easier application, select one of our custom stencils to apply the depth numeral and unit of measure simultaneously.

Spa Safety Signs

When it comes to spa safety, proper use often falls on the bathers, but pool owners can provide signage to guide and inform guests of hazards. Use your own list or borrow ideas from the CDC’s hot tub user recommendations². Our custom sign design tool creates floor markings with any text or graphics you choose. Apply personalized signage near entry points of spas to make sure guests don’t miss the warnings.

Spas with timers and on/off switches for the jets often include emergency shut-offs. Safety labels are tools to improve the visibility of these stop buttons in public areas and in mechanical rooms behind the scenes. The colors and icons on our labels are easy to understand at a glance so guests or employees may act quickly when needed. 

Pool Chemicals and Storage Signage

Protect your employees from chemical spills and improper handling by making sure your aquatic environment is compliant with GHS standards. This includes having safety data sheet stations, personal protective equipment, and chemical container labels on hand and accessible. Use floor signs to restrict access to chemical storage areas; Authorized Personnel Only warnings ensure guests know of restricted areas to prevent unauthorized access.

Markings for Exits, Navigation, and Emergencies

If your aquatic facility has multiple attractions in it, use cues like floor sign arrows for crowd control and navigation to streamline entry, check-ins, and exits. For areas that should never be blocked, our pre-cut tape kits mark the floor in front as off-limits so lounge chairs, towel bins, or equipment aren’t placed in these areas. Use any from our inventory of signs or design a custom kit for these locations:

  • Emergency Telephone
  • First Aid Kits
  • First Aid Treatment Area
  • Reaching Pole
  • Rescue Throwing Devices
  • Accessible Swim Chair
  • Fire Extinguishers

Signs to Protect Swimmers From Health Hazards

Swimming-related illnesses are common issues at aquatic facilities that can put visitors and staff at risk. Place floor or wall signs at entry points to remind patrons of proper hygiene, diaper requirements, swimwear rules, and pre-swim rinse showers. Create a visual barrier between the changing room and pool entrance with custom-printed repeat message tape. This can offer a reminder of the requirement for guests to refrain from swimming if experiencing gastrointestinal or respiratory illnesses, two main sources of outbreaks. In spas, the low water, high temperature, and high bather loads can result in the growth and spread of germs. Stenciling notices near the tub entry to restrict occupant loads can help reduce the chances of infection and illnesses. 

Personal Protective Equipment Reminders for Staff

Apply PPE reminder signs or posters in lifeguard dressing rooms or offices so employees headed to outdoor pools remember to use sunscreen and polarized glasses on each shift to stay healthy. Keeping other PPE storage organized with labeled shelves makes restocking items used less frequently, like resuscitation masks, disposable gloves, and bandaids easy.

These are just a few ideas of how visual cues may supplement pool codes to communicate swimming pool rules, notices, and emergency procedures at aquatic facilities. For more information about improving safety in public spaces or for tips related to specialty floor markings, visit our Resource Center.


The ideas in this article are for informational purposes, only, and are not intended to be a substitute for existing pool codes. All local, state, tribal, territorial, and tribal health agency regulations should be properly researched and followed.