Safe Diving


Many pool operators have decided to remove diving boards for fear of injury to patrons. However, with proper water depth and supervision, springboard diving is one of the safest sports in existence. No catastrophic diving injuries, recreational or competitive, have occurred in pools sanctioned by any of the main governing bodies in competitive diving. Diving is an integral aspect of many aquatics programs, being found in swimming lessons, recreational swimming, competitive swimming, and of course, competitive diving. Diving is a very important skill to learn as a headfirst entry into water always poses a safety risk, especially into shallow water. However, racing starts and recreational diving can be safely performed provided that basic precautions are taken.

Springboard Diving:

  • Water depth must be adequate under, in front of, and to the sides of the board. The best practice is to provide at least 11 feet of water depth for a one-meter board.
  • A trained coach should be present for practice and competition, in addition to the lifeguards.
  • When the diving facilities are in use, a lifeguard should be specifically stationed in that area to manage the activity and to enforce the following rules:
    • Only one diver is allowed on the board at a time
    • Only one bounce is allowed at the end of the board
    • Dive or jump directly ahead
    • Exit immediately at the nearest ladder after each entry
    • The hands must enter the water first on all headfirst dives

Racing Dives / Starting Blocks:

  • Most authorities now require five feet of water depth for starting block usage
  • Non-springboard diving instruction, whether teaching competitive dives to new swimmers or teaching new diving techniques to experienced swimmers, should be performed in no less than nine feet of water
  • Starting blocks should be used only with the direct supervision of a trained coach
  • Starting blocks should be clearly marked as closed when not in use. A cone or cover is suggested on each block to keep untrained or unsupervised users off the block.

Open Swim General Rules:

  • Diving from the pool deck should not be permitted in less than nine feet of water.
  • “No Diving” signs as well as depth markers should be placed conspicuously at the water’s edge and at other locations in the facility. Lifeguards must strictly enforce this rule.
  • Inform new users and outside groups of the diving rules before they enter the water.

Please call us at 800-463-8546 to discuss this or any other risk management safety tip, or visit our web site at to learn more about JCC risk management issues.


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