Pool or Open Water Activities
Open Water activities include those that involve swimming in a lake or ocean. In addition to the considerations for All Physical Activities, the following should be considered for Pool-based Activities:
Supervision for Pool or Open Water Activities
- Constant visual supervision during the entire activity by a certified NLS
lifeguard is recommended.
- At least one supervisor must have a current certification, e.g., National Lifeguard Services (NLS) Lifeguard – Waterfront Option Certification or NLS – Pool Option with two years waterfront experience.
- The designated lifeguard must be familiar with the pool or open water location being used and the appropriate procedures for the location.
- Teacher should accompany students on deck during activity.
- Teachers should discuss with the lifeguard what the teacher’s role is during an emergency.
- Students must ask permission to leave the pool, the immediate shore area or the change facilities.
- Student to lifeguard ratio is specific to each facility or open water location. For pools, this ratio is based on the Lifesaving Society – Public Aquatic Facility Safety Standards. Consult with facility to determine their requirements.
- For open water locations that do not have a defined student to lifeguard ratio, the ratio should be determined through consultation between the teacher and the lifeguard.
- Change facilities should be closely and frequently monitored.
- Local swim area guidelines/rules should be followed.
- When using pools or other water with no lifeguard for recreational swimming (e.g., hotel pools during a ski trip or lake during outdoor education trips) swimming should be done only during designated times with adequate adult supervision. Instructional Considerations for Pool or Open Water Activities
- Prior to giving students access to deep water (above chest height) or where a current exists that may pull students into deep water, students must be able to meet the Swim to Survive Standard, a sequence of three skills: roll into deep water, tread water for 1 minute and swim 50 m.
- A properly fitted lifejacket/PFD should be used to support weak or non-swimmers in water deeper than chest height or where a current exists that could pull student into deeper water.
- Initial screening/testing of swimming skills should be done in shallow water with no current.
- Parents/guardians must be informed when students will be going off school board property to go to a pool or open water location.
- Teacher/instructor and in-charge person on shore should be informed of students with medical problems that may affect their safety in the water.
- Emergency procedures should be outlined to students prior to entering the water.
- Prolonged breath holding games should not be allowed.
- Showers should be taken before entering water
- Students with infected cuts or sores should not enter pool.
- Rules of municipal/local pool or swim area must be adhered to and students should be informed of and adhere to rules such as:
- No running or pushing on pool deck
- No gum chewing
- No food in pool area
- No glass around pool or on beach
- Stay clear of diving area
- No diving in shallow water
- No horseplay
- No outdoor shoes on pool deck
- Entry into water less than 2.5 m deep must be feet first.
- These rules will change from location to location.
Equipment/Facilities for Pool or Open Water Activities
- When using an outdoor pool or open water location, weather conditions must be stable and free of threat of thunderstorms.
For Pool or Open Water Activities:
- School or community pools should be used. Backyard pools must not be used.
- Pool deck should be clear of obstacles and clear of excess water.
- Electrical equipment should be properly grounded (GFI).
- Standard safety equipment should be available as stated in the pool regulations, e.g., ring buoys, reaching poles and spinal boards.
For Open Water Activities:
- Use of a municipally or otherwise designated swimming waterfront is recommended. If using another location refer to the Waterfront Safety Standards available at www.lifesavingsociety.org.
- Teacher should ensure the following items are accessible:
- Whistle or other signaling device
- Buoyant throw line
- Reaching assists
- Spinal board
- Rescue boat/craft.
- Teacher should ensure that the waterfront area is:
- Clearly marked
- Free from hazards
- Roped off with floating markers
- Of suitable water temperature
- Water is reasonably clean and clear.