Swimming Pool Policies and Rules

Man jumping into pool

Woman holding a child in a poolCity Wide Swim Test and Life Jacket Policy

The Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks Department has enacted a swimming policy for the safety of all swimmers at city pools. The policy is intended to enhance the safety of all pool patrons by providing lifeguards and caregivers with knowledge of each child's swimming ability. Wrist bands and life jackets will be issued to children who do not demonstrate strong swimming ability.

Children under 48 inches tall who do not pass a swim test will be required to wear life jackets at city pools. Under most circumstances, those over 48 inches tall will also be required to wear life jackets.

Required Areas

Life jackets will not be required in splash pads and the water playground areas at Kimberley Park pool, Bolton Park pool, Parkland pool, Polo pool, Mineral Springs pool and the Winston Lake Aquatic Center. The city will provide life jackets. Patrons may bring their own life jackets if they have a stamp indicating that they are Coast Guard approved and pass inspection from the lifeguards.

Swim Test and Life Jacket Policies

Please review the following pool policies:

Swim Test

The swim test consists of treading water for one minute and swimming 25 yards without touching the bottom. As the staff at a particular pool gets to know the children who attend often, lifeguards may issue green wrist bands to children who they know can swim, without administering a swim test.

Pool Rules

No one is allowed in the pool or pool area unless a City of Winston-Salem lifeguard is on duty. Lifeguards have final authority to enforce all rules of the pool. For safety reasons, conversations with lifeguards who are actively watching the swimming pools must be kept brief.

  • All children under 18 must be swim tested, and lifejackets are required for swimmer's unable  to pass the basic water competency test- swimming the width of the pool without stopping and treading water for 1 minute
  • Please walk at all times when on the pool deck. For safety reasons, running is strictly prohibited.
  • Horseplay and foul language are not permitted in the pool area.
  • No diving allowed in areas of the pools less than 5 feet deep or in pools not approved for diving.
  • Infants and toddlers must wear appropriate swim diapers in pool areas.
  • Goggles that cover the nose and breath holding activities not allowed.
  • Food and drink must be kept at least four feet from the pool (preferably in the concessions area).
  • Smoking, glass containers, and potentially dangerous objects are not allowed in the pool area.
  • Alcoholic beverages, drugs, gambling, and tobacco are not allowed in the pool area.
  • No inflatables, floats, noodles, infant riders, water wings, etc. are allowed in the pool .
  • No animals or pets allowed in the pool or on the deck.
  • Swimmers must shower before entering the water.
  • All bandages must be removed and discarded prior to swimming.
  • No person with skin, eye, ear, or nasal infections allowed in the pool.
  • No person with communicable diseases allowed in the pool.
  • Lap swimmers should circle swim during high usage times.
  • The City of Winston-Salem assumes no responsibility for accidents, injuries, or loss, theft or damage of personal items.
  • Follow the instructions of the lifeguards, they are at the pool for the protection of all patrons.

Other Rules & Policies

  • No refunds or rain checks due to weather.
  • Goggles are permitted as long as they do not cover the nose.
  • Toys and games permitted in the pool at the discretion of the lifeguards.
  1. Red Wristband
  2. Yellow Wristband
  3. Green Wristband

Children who do not pass the swim test will wear a red wrist band and must wear a life jacket in the pool, please review the Red Wristbandfollowing to learn about red wristbands:

  • Life jackets are not required in the splashpad or water play area.
  • Only pool-issued or U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets may be worn.
  • Red wristbands may not use the slide.
  • Red wristbands cannot go past the first lane rope (water is less than 3 1/2 feet deep).

Proper Swim Attire

In order to gain entry into the pool area, you must be clothed in proper swim attire.

  • Clean white t-shirts may be worn over proper swim attire.
  • Colored t-shirts will not be allowed in the pool.
  • All infants/toddlers that require a diaper must wear swimmer diapers and proper swimwear.
  • City pools are family friendly. All swim wear must be appropriate.
  • Approved water shoes are permitted.

Attire Not Allowed In Pools

The following attire is not proper swim attire for a city swimming pool and will not be allowed.

  • Athletic/Basketball shorts
  • Cargo pants
  • Denim shorts/cut-offs
  • Male or female undergarments, (sports bras (unless designed to go in water), underwear, or boxers)
  • Non-Coast Guard approved flotation suits
  • Socks or shoes

Reasons for Proper Swimwear

Pool patrons often ask, "Why do I have to wear proper swimwear?" Here are just a few reasons:

  • Any "colored" or "dyed" material (unless specifically made for swimming) can bleed into the pool, affecting water chemistry and balance. (This is also a reason for turbidity in pools.)
  • Cotton and similar materials can absorb the chemicals in the water, causing the water to become less effective at maintaining the proper chemical balance or may cloud the water.
  • Street clothes can be dirty and will add dirt to the pool's water. They can also transport airborne contaminants and fecal matter, which will contaminate the pool water. Cotton can also break down in the water and clog the filters.
  • Swim suit material is generally made of Lycra and Nylon which are the non-absorbent materials for swimming and are the best fabrics for proper swim attire and do not weigh down swimmers in the water.

Inclement Weather

For more information and to stay up to date with inclement weather possibilities, please review the Inclement Weather page.