View Full Version : Starting block liability in public pools

June 4th, 2008, 12:19 AM
I was recently informed that my city owned pool deems our starting blocks a liability and will not allow USMS and USA Swimming competitions. Three of our starting blocks do not have a 6' perimeter of safety around them (not below) starting end is 12' deep. The concern is that our lane 5 block is next to a one meter springboard of course this will include lane 4, and our lane 3 block must be removed for a water slide during rec swim and vice versa for competitions. During high school competitions the diving board is raised up and secured against a wall directly behind the diving board. During USMS and USA swim competitions the board is lifted and the railings are completely removed. The USA team hosts one USA Swimming invitationals per year, one USMS competition and at least five high school dual meets per year. This is a tremendous blow to our fundraising abilities and competitive programs.
Rumor has it that this is a new liability issue for all pools in the State of Oregon. If this is true, I believe more than half the public pools in Oregon will be impacted by this new rule and competitions will become few and far between.
Is there anyone out there who can help me with this issue? Does USMS and USA Swimming Liability Insurance cover such an issue? Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.

June 4th, 2008, 07:55 AM
This is super crazy. The only thing I can suggest is you seek out an insurance carrier who might be willing to issue single day/single event policies. I have no idea how much these cost or even if your municipality would even accept coverage you secure. Plus, the facility would still be sued if anything bad happened. But, might be worth looking into it. A decent broker could assist you.

Are they worried kids will jump sideways off the blocks and hit the diving boards? Seems terribly insane. Blame Fort.

June 4th, 2008, 07:59 AM
Tim, I don't have any advice but I've swam in that pool and it did not seem like a problem to me. If this is state-wide, Tualatin Hills will be in trouble as well. They have the diving boards next to the blocks. I know you were trying to get Zones and I hope this is resolved quickly and cheap for you all.

June 4th, 2008, 08:21 AM
I have seen plenty of Masters and USS meets where the diving boards were less than 3 feet from the blocks. In all cases, the boards were flipped backwards and that seemed to be enough.


June 4th, 2008, 08:33 AM
As a Commercial Insurance Agent, I'm interested to see where this risk assessment originated. Was it a loss control inspection by a carrier, a governmental body, etc? If its a carrier, you should be able to work with them and point out the extra precautions that are taken to reduce any potential liability. As long as they understand the risk and the precautions, they should be willing to esxtend the coverage. If its a governmental body, good luck.

June 4th, 2008, 08:41 AM
In Illinois a few years back, liability on block starting depth changed, and a bunch of pools could no longer hold competitions. It really hurt quite a few HS teams.

June 4th, 2008, 08:55 AM
waves101 makes a really good point. I wonder if this isn't some policy implemented by the entity that insures the state, although I've not seen a single carrier insure a whole state. If it's just the carrier for your local municipality/city, you might have a chance. The key is going to be to get the carrier's risk manager on site to show the safety situation and steps you can take to comply.

You have to escalate, escalate, escalate until you hit the person with authority to come out and visit with you. And, find a parent/swimmer on your team who is in the business and can decipher the lingo for you and push the right buttons.

June 4th, 2008, 11:25 AM
Surely USA-S can help. They are motivated to keep pools open. Perhaps they can help guide the insuring entity.

June 4th, 2008, 06:01 PM
There must have been an incident which brought about the liability concern.
They also require that swimmers start from the water in shallow pools.


June 5th, 2008, 03:05 PM
Thats the dumbest thing iv ever heard. Whats the worst that can happen if you dive like an idiot sidways and hit the board/rail? A cut, or a bruise? If they are going to make dumb rules like that, they may as well ban takling in football in the state of Oregon.

June 6th, 2008, 11:17 PM
There's a pool near where I live where I swam my first masters meet two years ago. They had starting blocks on both ends then, now there's no blocks to be seen. They're supposed to have an annual age group invitational in the next week or so. Will the swimmers just dive off the side of the pool? If so, that's got to affect times right?