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Pool Rules and Safety

DPR Pool Rules and Safety logo

When visiting DPR's pools, please remember that proper swim attire is very important.  Please view, download and/or print DPR's Swim Attire Requirements poster for clarification around pool wear; and look for this sign in the locker rooms and various pool common areas in our Aquatic facilities. With the safety of our guests as the highest priority, please also be reminded of our supervision ratios in aquatic center - Supervision Ratios in Aquatic Facilities.


The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) operates indoor pools year round. Outdoor pools and spray parks open across the District for the summer. DPR wants to remind all adults, children, youth, and families to swim safely while using DPR pools. 

Please review and follow these important pool safety tips and rules. In addtion to the rules below, we encourage you to look for lifesaving equipment by the pool.

Pool Admission Policies

  • Pool users must abide by all posted rules and lifeguard directives. Failure to do so can result in ejection from the facility.
  • All patrons must sign in and show ID.
  • Children under the age of 13 must be accompanied and supervised by an adult of 18 years and over at all times.
  • Children younger than 6 years must be accompanied by an adult—in swim attire—at all times, and must be within an arm's length of the adult when in the pool. One adult can only accompany a maximum of three children, 6 years of age and younger. The ratio for this age group is 1 adult for every 3 children (1:3).
  • Parents with children ages 6 to 12 cannot be responsible for a group larger than 6. The ratio for this age group is 1 adult for every 6 children (1:6).
  • All parents with children, ages 6 and up, must use gender-appropriate locker rooms/family changing rooms. If you have special needs or require assistance, please contact a DPR Aquatics staff member or pool manager.
  • The actions and conduct of an organized group are the responsibility of the group leader(s). Misconduct of individuals may result in dismissal of the group.
  • Appropriate swim attire is required in pool area.
  • No pets are allowed in pool premises—except guide dogs—and only on deck, not in the pool.
  • Persons with open wounds, rashes, nasal discharge, inflamed eyes or bandages are not allowed in the pool.
  • Persons who appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be permitted in the pool or in the surrounding area.
  • Persons on medication must have authorization from their physicians to swim.
  • Infants/children not toilet trained, and incontinent adults must wear swim suit diapers or snug plastic pants under their swim suits. Diapers (cloth and disposable) are prohibited.
  • Food consumption and glass containers are prohibited on premises.
  • No bicycles or strollers allowed on pool deck.
  • No weapons.
  • No smoking.

Pool Rules

  • No swimming when pool is closed
  • No swimming when lifeguard is not on duty
  • You must pass DPR "Deep-water Test" to use deep end
  • No running on deck
  • No dunking, splashing, or horseplay inside the pool
  • No diving in any depth under 5 ½ feet
  • No toys, floating devices, snorkels or masks allowed in the pool—unless part of an authorized class
  • No gum, spitting, spouting, nose blowing or urinating in the pool
  • No consumption of food or glass containers allowed in the pool area
  • Socializing with or distracting the lifeguard on duty is prohibited
  • Only appropriate swim attire allowed in the pool
  • Aqua shoes are only to be worn during Water Aerobic Sessions as long as they are clean and free of all foreign debris. Elderly or handicapped patrons who wish to wear aqua shoes must present a doctor’s note stating the need for the use of aqua shoes

Guests will be dismissed from the facility for the following reasons:

  • Improper conduct
  • Causing injury to others
  • Intoxication
  • Improper swim wear
  • Failing to obey all rules

Locker Room Rules

  • Protect your valuables—DPR is not responsible for any lost or stolen items.
  • You must soap and shower entire body before entering pool.
  • No loitering in the locker room or showers.
  • No videotaping or any photography allowed in locker rooms or showers.
  • Consumption of food and glass containers prohibited in locker room.
  • Appropriate swim attire is required in pool area.

Spa Pool Rules

  • Persons should not remain in this pool more than 15 minutes per hour. Longer exposure may be dangerous.
  • Hydrotherapy pool use is restricted to adults 18 and older and youth 14-17 years accompanied by an adult.
  • Observe time limit to avoid nausea, dizziness, fainting, and heat stroke.
  • Pregnant women and persons suffering from heart disease, diabetes, high or low blood pressure should not enter the hydrotherapy pool without prior medical consultation.
  • Do not use this pool while under the influence of any type of alcohol, drugs, anticoagulants, antihistamines, vasoconstrictors, vasodilators, stimulants, hypnotics, narcotics, or tranquilizers.
  • Submerging your head under water is not advised, doing so increases the danger of hypothermia.

Water Safety Tips for Children

  • Never take your eyes off of children in the pool—even for a moment! If you’re in a group, appoint a designated “water watcher,” taking turns with other adults.
  • Don’t rely on water wings or other inflatable toys. If your child can’t swim, stay within an arm’s reach.
  • Lifejackets are strongly recommended for all non-swimmers (they are free and available at all DPR Aquatic facilities).
  • While supervising, stay alert and avoid distractions like reading or the telephone.
  • Teach children to swim after age 4. DPR offers learn to swim courses for all ages.
  • Teach children how to tread water, float and get out of the pool.
  • Tell children to stay away from pool and hot tub drains.
  • Tie up long hair securely to guard against drain entanglement.
  • If you find a drain cover that is loose, report it immediately, and do not enter the pool.
  • Learn infant and child CPR.