Outdoor Swimming Pool Etiquette

The swimming pool is a great way to unwind and cool off in the hot summer sun. However, some people forget their manners and dive headfirst into the deep end of rude behavior. Modern Manners Guy has 3 tips for swimming pool manners.

Richie Frieman
Episode #257

...when people run rather than walking, it drives me crazy. Why would you run on a soaked cement floor? It’s just common sense. And yes, when the lifeguard yells "Walk!" to your kid, they are doing their job, so don’t fight back.  One slip, one cut, one drop of blood in the pool and the place gets shut down. All because you had to run on the slippery pavement and slide like you were stealing home. My child isn’t perfect, and she runs sometimes too – she’s 5, everything is exciting to her and she would much rather run than walk - however, running on a slippery floor near the pool is just not tolerated.

Pool rules are so simple, that even a toddler can manage it over time. So don’t be the one who ruins it for everyone because you are too cool to follow simple instructions.

Tip #2: Watch Your Kids 

I love watching my kids splash around and enjoy themselves in the pool. The pool is a great way to bond with your family, and I’m more than eager to join in the fun at a moment’s notice. However, some parents think that the lifeguards are their own personal babysitters who should handle whatever happens. That’s right, the teenagers that are really only there to hook up with other lifeguards, who spend summers half naked, making next to nothing, and are outnumbered 5 to 200. Sure, they will watch your kid and make sure the pushing, running, fighting, splashing with reckless abandonment doesn't get out of hand, right? Wrong!  Oh so, very wrong.

It’s not fair to be mad at some 8-year-old who runs amok, but when I see the parents watching this and doing nothing about it, I can’t help but get upset. This mindset is similar to an episode I wrote about Proper Playground Etiquette, where I was dismayed at parents who think they can just drop their kids off and let them act like animals, and then get mad when someone says something to them about it.

Look, I’m not saying my kids are angels (although, they are pretty amazing) and I know every kid has a hard time containing him or herself at a swimming pool, but this does not mean that parents get a free pass. You have to watch your kids and be responsible for them at all times. There is no excuse to enable a child’s unmannerly and bratty behavior just because you want to get a better tan or have drinks with friends. The lifeguards can only do so much (I mean, after all, it’s their time to get digits from the other hardbodies), and we all need to pitch in to make the pool a peaceful experience.

Tip #3 Did Someone Say "Picnic"?

I did an episode in the past called, Cubicle Meeting Etiquette, where I discussed how unmannerly it is to bring food into other people’s work area and leave wrappers and garbage all over the place. A similar thing can be said about the way some people treat the swimming pool - like a pigsty!  Let me stop you before you begin to argue. I get that you paid a lot to belong to the pool, I get that it's not your job to clean up after anyone else, and of course, I'm sure that piece of trash was there when you arrived. Riiiiiiiight. Face it, many people are sloppy, rude, and feel entitled to leave their area at the pool looking like a varsity football team just had a rib-eating contest. Drop the ‘tude people and clean up after yourselves!

See Also: How to Spend Less on Backyard Pool Maintenance


When I tell you to clean up, I’m not saying you need to break out the Clorox wipes and disinfect every single inch of the area. Nor do you have to vacuum up every single chip that your kids mashed into the ground. What I am saying is that common courtesy and respect for our environment can go a long, looooooong way.  If you make a mess, clean it up. If you see a wrapper or some other trash when you arrive at your pool chairs, drop it into a bin. It takes seconds and will make a huge difference. We live in a civilized society (even though I sometimes wonder about that), and we are responsible for a little maintenance of the area we occupy. The last thing I want to see in the pool is a rogue Dorito or napkin floating by. Okay, that’s not the last thing, the last thing is a used Band-Aid or a poop. That’s the last thing…but trash is a close second.

Do you have a great story about proper swimming pool etiquette?  Post all the details in the comment section below. As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.

And if you have any recent graduates in your circle, or perhaps someone who is looking to start a new career, check out my new book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career. It's available for pre-order now!



About the Author

Richie Frieman
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