We just had a large pond dug behind our new home. What’s required for safety?
Dan – Toldeo, OH
Whether you’re talking about a pool, a lake, or a backyard pond, the importance of water safety can’t be overstated. That’s why a few simple steps now will make it a whole lot easier to enjoy your new pond safely later on.
The first step you should take is to consult with your town office. Because residential water features – including both ponds and pools – may prove attractive to people and animals ill-equipped to use them safely, state and local authorities often draft rules and regulations to protect the public from themselves. Many of those regulations require certain types of fencing around the water feature, and the conspicuous presence of personal flotation devices nearby. So check with your town office. Ask them what regulations apply to your water feature. Then follow those regulations to a “T.”
Once you’ve satisfied state and local regulations, a little common sense can go a long way toward ensuring the safe enjoyment of your pond. Here are a few basics to keep in mind:
Show your respect. No matter how shallow or how small, a pond can pose a risk to a small child, non-swimmers, and pets. When someone who fits in one of those categories is near your pond, keep a watchful eye out for their wellbeing.
Teach your children. Kids are naturally drawn toward water – and a backyard pond is downright irresistible. Be sure to tell your kids and their friends that they’re never to go in or near the water without an adult. As an added precaution, make sure they know how to find, and how to use, safety gear.
Never, ever swim alone. This one requires no explanation. Just don’t do it.
Keep your pond clean. Clear, debris-free water is much safer (and more appealing) than muck. When you install and maintain proper aeration and clear debris regularly, your pond will be safer and more satisfying on every level.
So check with the local authorities. Follow the rules. Use common sense. And above all else, enjoy. With a few simple precautions, your pond will give you and your family years of safe satisfaction.
Pond Talk: How do you promote safety around your pond?