What is one of the most desirable amenities potential buyers want when they’re looking for the planned community of their dreams? Well…a common use pool, of course! You can lounge, swim and cool off without the personal expense and hard work involved in your taking care of your own pool. But remember that you’re sharing this privilege with your neighbors, and you’ll want to keep your relationships on great footing by observing a few rules of etiquette while you’re there.
First of all…follow all the posted rules. If the rules state no glass, beach balls, rafts or alcoholic beverages allowed, leave them home. If you’re asked to rinse off in the shower before entering the pool, make sure you get wet there first. If the pool closes at 10pm, swing the gate behind you at five of. There are good reasons for having the rules that the homeowner’s association sets, so it’s important to take note of them. However, if there is a rule that does really bother you, or you have one you’d like to add, don’t hesitate to bring it up at the next association meeting. There may be others who would like the pool to open an hour earlier for pre-work laps or devote an hour in the evening to adult only swims. It never hurts to ask…the worst that could happen is that everything remains the same.
Keep a close eye on your kids at all times. Not only do you need to make sure they’re completely safe and aren’t having trouble of any kind in the water, you also need to make sure that their behavior isn’t irritating other swimmers.
Make sure you clean up after yourself when you’re at the pool. Never leave trash behind or drop unapproved items into the pool. This may sound like unnecessary advice, but choose any random hot day and you’re sure to see someone leaving their soda cans or snack wrappers on the ground. Don’t be “that guy”. And heaven forbid…emphasize to your children that they should never, ever, ever think about peeing in the pool! If you have small children, make sure you use swim diapers every single time they visit the pool.
Don’t be a “fashion accident”. Remember that people of all ages visit the pool, and some may be more conservative than you are. This doesn’t mean you need to wear a “granny suit” or shorts to the knees, but it does mean you should be tasteful and appropriate. Cover your essential areas completely; no thongs, ultra-high cuts, minimal tops or suits that don’t stay put in the water. And hey…guys…no Speedos, please!
Share the pool nicely – no splashing, dunking or cannonballing. Most public pools don’t allow diving, so make sure you aren’t singled out for indulging in this dangerous behavior. Also, don’t monopolize one area of the pool to the exclusion of others. Sitting on the steps that let people get in and out of the pool, hogging the slides and playing pool games that take up large sections of water are some examples of what not to do. If the pool has swimming lanes, make sure you choose a lane where you’ll be swimming with others that match your style and speed. If you’re a slower swimmer, line up with other slow swimmers so faster swimmers won’t have to find ways to pass you.
Remember that if the pool has a lifeguard, he or she always has the final word. Never argue with the lifeguards, ignore a request, disobey an order or give them a hard time. They’re there to ensure that everyone stays safe, and ultimately, if something goes wrong and someone gets hurt, they’re responsible. Make their job easier by following their lead.
If your community pool allows you to invite guests, don’t go overboard. Inviting a dozen of your “closest friends” is a party – not an afternoon’s entertainment. You should check with your homeowner’s association to see if you can reserve the pool for a private event for a few hours to accommodate a large group. Be prepared to pay a fee if this is permitted. Otherwise, try to keep guests to 2 or 3 per session. Any more than that and you’re imposing on your neighbors’ rights to use the pool freely.
If you bring a radio or streaming device with you, your best bet is to use earbuds or headphones. If this isn’t possible, make sure to keep the volume down. Not everyone will have the same musical tastes that you do, and overhearing loud music that isn’t yours can definitely be annoying. You also need to keep your cell phone conversations as private as possible. Low volume here is also important, and try to keep them short. It’s awkward to be the one forced to listen to gossip, a long list of people’s problems or endless complaints, so be considerate of those around you.
If you keep these guidelines in mind, you and your family members will be the ultimate swim buddies…everyone will be glad to see you coming!