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The Florida Statutes

The 2014 Florida Statutes

Title XXXIII
REGULATION OF TRADE, COMMERCE, INVESTMENTS, AND SOLICITATIONS
Chapter 515
RESIDENTIAL SWIMMING POOL SAFETY ACT
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CHAPTER 515
CHAPTER 515
RESIDENTIAL SWIMMING POOL SAFETY ACT
515.21 Short title.
515.23 Legislative findings and intent.
515.25 Definitions.
515.27 Residential swimming pool safety feature options; penalties.
515.29 Residential swimming pool barrier requirements.
515.31 Drowning prevention education program; public information publication.
515.33 Information required to be furnished to buyers.
515.35 Rulemaking authority.
515.37 Exemptions.
515.21 Short title.This chapter may be cited as the “Preston de Ibern/McKenzie Merriam Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act.”
History.s. 1, ch. 2000-143.
515.23 Legislative findings and intent.The Legislature finds that drowning is the leading cause of death of young children in this state and is also a significant cause of death for medically frail elderly persons in this state, that constant adult supervision is the key to accomplishing the objective of reducing the number of submersion incidents, and that when lapses in supervision occur a pool safety feature designed to deny, delay, or detect unsupervised entry to the swimming pool, spa, or hot tub will reduce drowning and near-drowning incidents. In addition to the incalculable human cost of these submersion incidents, the health care costs, loss of lifetime productivity, and legal and administrative expenses associated with drownings of young children and medically frail elderly persons in this state each year and the lifetime costs for the care and treatment of young children who have suffered brain disability due to near-drowning incidents each year are enormous. Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature that all new residential swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs be equipped with at least one pool safety feature as specified in this chapter. It is also the intent of the Legislature that the Department of Health be responsible for producing its own or adopting a nationally recognized publication that provides the public with information on drowning prevention and the responsibilities of pool ownership and also for developing its own or adopting a nationally recognized drowning prevention education program for the public and for persons violating the pool safety requirements of this chapter.
History.s. 1, ch. 2000-143.
515.25 Definitions.As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) “Approved safety pool cover” means a manually or power-operated safety pool cover that meets all of the performance standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) in compliance with standard F1346-91.
(2) “Barrier” means a fence, dwelling wall, or nondwelling wall, or any combination thereof, which completely surrounds the swimming pool and obstructs access to the swimming pool, especially access from the residence or from the yard outside the barrier.
(3) “Department” means the Department of Health.
(4) “Exit alarm” means a device that makes audible, continuous alarm sounds when any door or window which permits access from the residence to any pool area that is without an intervening enclosure is opened or left ajar.
(5) “Indoor swimming pool” means a swimming pool that is totally contained within a building and surrounded on all four sides by walls of or within the building.
(6) “Medically frail elderly person” means any person who is at least 65 years of age and has a medical problem that affects balance, vision, or judgment, including, but not limited to, a heart condition, diabetes, or Alzheimer’s disease or any related disorder.
(7) “Outdoor swimming pool” means any swimming pool that is not an indoor swimming pool.
(8) “Portable spa” means a nonpermanent structure intended for recreational bathing, in which all controls and water-heating and water-circulating equipment are an integral part of the product and which is cord-connected and not permanently electrically wired.
(9) “Public swimming pool” means a swimming pool, as defined in s. 514.011(2), which is operated, with or without charge, for the use of the general public; however, the term does not include a swimming pool located on the grounds of a private residence.
(10) “Residential” means situated on the premises of a detached one-family or two-family dwelling or a one-family townhouse not more than three stories high.
(11) “Swimming pool” means any structure, located in a residential area, that is intended for swimming or recreational bathing and contains water over 24 inches deep, including, but not limited to, in-ground, aboveground, and on-ground swimming pools; hot tubs; and nonportable spas.
(12) “Young child” means any person under the age of 6 years.
History.s. 1, ch. 2000-143.
515.27 Residential swimming pool safety feature options; penalties.
(1) In order to pass final inspection and receive a certificate of completion, a residential swimming pool must meet at least one of the following requirements relating to pool safety features:
(a) The pool must be isolated from access to a home by an enclosure that meets the pool barrier requirements of s. 515.29;
(b) The pool must be equipped with an approved safety pool cover;
(c) All doors and windows providing direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with an exit alarm that has a minimum sound pressure rating of 85 dB A at 10 feet; or
(d) All doors providing direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor.
(2) A person who fails to equip a new residential swimming pool with at least one pool safety feature as required in subsection (1) commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, except that no penalty shall be imposed if the person, within 45 days after arrest or issuance of a summons or a notice to appear, has equipped the pool with at least one safety feature as required in subsection (1) and has attended a drowning prevention education program established by s. 515.31. However, the requirement of attending a drowning prevention education program is waived if such program is not offered within 45 days after issuance of the citation.
History.s. 1, ch. 2000-143.
515.29 Residential swimming pool barrier requirements.
(1) A residential swimming pool barrier must have all of the following characteristics:
(a) The barrier must be at least 4 feet high on the outside.
(b) The barrier may not have any gaps, openings, indentations, protrusions, or structural components that could allow a young child to crawl under, squeeze through, or climb over the barrier.
(c) The barrier must be placed around the perimeter of the pool and must be separate from any fence, wall, or other enclosure surrounding the yard unless the fence, wall, or other enclosure or portion thereof is situated on the perimeter of the pool, is being used as part of the barrier, and meets the barrier requirements of this section.
(d) The barrier must be placed sufficiently away from the water’s edge to prevent a young child or medically frail elderly person who may have managed to penetrate the barrier from immediately falling into the water.
(2) The structure of an aboveground swimming pool may be used as its barrier or the barrier for such a pool may be mounted on top of its structure; however, such structure or separately mounted barrier must meet all barrier requirements of this section. In addition, any ladder or steps that are the means of access to an aboveground pool must be capable of being secured, locked, or removed to prevent access or must be surrounded by a barrier that meets the requirements of this section.
(3) Gates that provide access to swimming pools must open outward away from the pool and be self-closing and equipped with a self-latching locking device, the release mechanism of which must be located on the pool side of the gate and so placed that it cannot be reached by a young child over the top or through any opening or gap.
(4) A wall of a dwelling may serve as part of the barrier if it does not contain any door or window that opens to provide access to the swimming pool.
(5) A barrier may not be located in a way that allows any permanent structure, equipment, or similar object to be used for climbing the barrier.
History.s. 1, ch. 2000-143.
515.31 Drowning prevention education program; public information publication.
(1) The department shall develop a drowning prevention education program, which shall be made available to the public at the state and local levels and which shall be required as set forth in s. 515.27(2) for persons in violation of the pool safety requirements of this chapter. The department may charge a fee, not to exceed $100, for attendance at such a program. The drowning prevention education program shall be funded using fee proceeds, state funds appropriated for such purpose, and grants. The department, in lieu of developing its own program, may adopt a nationally recognized drowning prevention education program to be approved for use in local safety education programs, as provided in rule of the department.
(2) The department shall also produce, for distribution to the public at no charge, a publication that provides information on drowning prevention and the responsibilities of pool ownership. The department, in lieu of developing its own publication, may adopt a nationally recognized drowning prevention and responsibilities of pool ownership publication, as provided in rule of the department.
History.s. 1, ch. 2000-143.
515.33 Information required to be furnished to buyers.A licensed pool contractor, on entering into an agreement with a buyer to build a residential swimming pool, or a licensed home builder or developer, on entering into an agreement with a buyer to build a house that includes a residential swimming pool, must give the buyer a document containing the requirements of this chapter and a copy of the publication produced by the department under s. 515.31 that provides information on drowning prevention and the responsibilities of pool ownership.
History.s. 1, ch. 2000-143.
515.35 Rulemaking authority.The department shall adopt rules pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act establishing the fees required to attend drowning prevention education programs and setting forth the information required under this chapter to be provided by licensed pool contractors and licensed home builders or developers.
History.s. 1, ch. 2000-143.
515.37 Exemptions.This chapter does not apply to:
(1) Any system of sumps, irrigation canals, or irrigation flood control or drainage works constructed or operated for the purpose of storing, delivering, distributing, or conveying water.
(2) Stock ponds, storage tanks, livestock operations, livestock watering troughs, or other structures used in normal agricultural practices.
(3) Public swimming pools.
(4) Any political subdivision that has adopted or adopts a residential pool safety ordinance, provided the ordinance is equal to or more stringent than the provisions of this chapter.
(5) Any portable spa with a safety cover that complies with ASTM F1346-91 (Standard Performance Specification for Safety Covers and Labeling Requirements for All Covers for Swimming Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs).
(6) Small, temporary pools without motors, which are commonly referred to or known as “kiddie pools.”
History.s. 1, ch. 2000-143.