Shoalhaven City Council is urging residents to consider swimming pool compliance and safety over the summer period. With school holidays, backyard pools including inflatable and portable pools are a popular option for a lot of families. However, these pools hold potential hidden dangers.
Over a quarter of all drowning deaths among young children occur in inflatable or portable pools. This is because of lack of supervision and many people are unaware these pools may need to be separately fenced in accordance with the regulations.
If buying a pool, a development approval is required for the installation of an inground or above ground pool, including portable pools that have the capacity to hold 2000 litres of water. It is also a requirement to provide a compliant safety barrier for any swimming pool that can hold more than 300 mm of water.
All pool owners should check their swimming pool fencing regularly as this may save a life.
Council’s swimming pool compliance officers are actively addressing swimming pool compliance across the City. Significant penalties apply for residents found to have unauthorised and/or unfenced pools. Council takes safety seriously and our Officers will issue on the spot fines and emergency orders to empty, demolish and remove illegal pools.
Council plays an important role in education and ensuring the effective implementation of the Act amendments, including:
- Promoting pool safety and the responsibility of pool owners to register their pool, for example through Council communications and rate notices.
- Assisting pool owners who do not have internet access by registering pools on the owners’ behalf, a fee of up to $10.00 per registration may be applicable after 1 July 2013
dealing with enquiries on the pool register and pool safety.
- Developing and adopting an appropriate and affordable risk-based inspection program by 29 October 2013.
Constantly reinforcing the rules is an essential part of Council’s swimming pool program. Further information can be found on Council’s website at www.shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au/Planning-amp-Building/Swimming-pools
- There were 291 drowning deaths in aquatic locations across Australia between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017. This is an increase of 9 drowning deaths (3%) on the 282 drowning deaths recorded in 2015/2016. This also represents an increase of 10 deaths (4%) on the 10-year average of 281 drowning deaths.
- NSW recorded the highest number of drowning deaths with 93 (32%), of which 74% were male.
- The number of children nationally aged 0-4 years who drowned increased by 4%
- Drowning is one of the major causes of death for NSW children under the age of five.
- Each year on average 10 children under the age of five drown in backyard swimming pools and many more suffer brain damage and other serious injuries associated with near-drowning experiences.
- There were 685 non-fatal drowning incidents resulting in hospitalisation in 2016/2017.
- There are currently 4270 pools registered in the Shoalhaven area (340,000 backyard swimming pools in NSW).
- Council has conducted approximately 500 inspections in relation to applications for certificate of compliance for swimming pools and complaint based inspections.
If you are the owner of a property containing a swimming pool, you can at any time apply to Council or an accredited private certifier to obtain a certificate of compliance. A certificate of compliance certifies that the swimming pool fencing complies with the relevant legislative and safety requirements. The Certificate will be valid for three years.
Above all, there is no substitute for supervision, awareness and training. Teach children to enjoy the swimming pool and respect it.