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Requirement of a Lifeguard at all Public Pools in New York City | How Many Lifeguards Must be on Duty at Public Swimming Pools, Hotel Swimming Pools, Motel Swimming Pools & Wave Pools in New York City

Frank J. Dito, Jr.
Car accident, personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney serving Staten Island and Brooklyn New York.

Depending on the size of the bathing area and what the use of the area is for depends on how many lifeguards or aquatic supervisory staff is necessary for that particular area.  According to law stated in Article 165.15 which states New York City law for lifeguard use and safety at public pools in New York City the number of lifeguards required are as follows:

  • Swimming pools with less than 3,400 square feet of surface water require at least one Supervision Level II Lifeguard for every 75 swimmers / bathers.
  • Swimming pools with more than 3,400 square feet of surface water require at least one Supervision Level II Lifeguard for every 3,400 square feet of surface water, an additional Supervision Level II Lifeguard when 50% or more of the pools total capacity is expected to be reached and one Supervising Lifeguard if three or more lifeguards will be present.
  • Swimming pools being used for lap swimming or other similar usage may allow for less lifeguard supervision than would normally be required for a pool of the size being used.
  • Wading pools require at least one Supervision Level III Lifeguard
  • Physical therapy pools require one Supervision Level III Lifeguard to be on deck with the exception of if the physical therapy pool is provided by a physician or physical therapist.
  • Wave pools require a minimum of three Supervision Level II Lifeguards, including two lifeguard chairs which are outfitted with a switch to stop the wave pool whenever it is in use in case a rescue needs to be made.
  • Pools in use for instructional activities including learn to swim programs, physical education classes and swim activities require that a Supervision Level II Lifeguard provide the instructions and at least one Supervision Level III staff must be provided for each supervisory lifeguard instructing. A safety plan must be in place also.
  • White water slide areas must be supervised by Supervision Level II Lifeguards. This number is to be determined by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.  Also a safety plan and layout must be submitted before approval.
  • Sauna and steam rooms must either provide a one hour timer or must be inspected by a responsible person every 15 minutes while keeping a log.
  • Spray grounds must be inspected periodically by a supervising staff member.
For information on the law in NYC which requires that lifeguards be present at public pools when they are open or in use and also for a description of the different levels of Supervisory Lifeguards read our article.