Swimming Pools and Water Storage Tanks


Accidental drowning is a worldwide problem and claims tens of thousands of lives each year. Although swimming pool incidents are quite low down on the list of dangerous situations (rivers are the worst culprits), they are a real source of danger, particularly for young children. Every year there are approximately 236,000 injuries in swimming pools within the European Union. Most of these are to children and teenagers (The Netherlands Consumer Safety Institute 2003). 


There are also many other water related hazards that may be present at a property. Water storage tanks are common; they may be obvious above ground structures or may be hidden below ground. Many do not have secure locks on the access hatches and, if a child falls or climbs inside one, it will be virtually impossible for them to get out unaided. 


It is vitally important to provide a secure lock to all water tanks, even those that are not in use, located at the property.  


In countryside areas there may be open wells and open agricultural water tanks too. All of these structures are interesting to inquisitive children.  


In December 2002, the French Government introduced legislation requiring that privately owned swimming pools are made as safe as possible. This legislation also applies to spas and hot tubs. 


In many other European countries including Portugal, there is serious debate about the issue. It is likely that some form of swimming pool safety legislation will be introduced in Portugal in the foreseeable future. 


In France, one or more of the following safety measures are required and there is a large fine for failure to comply.  


Safety barrier and means of controlled access to the pool.  


Alarm systems.   


Safety covers and securing devices. 


Swimming pool shelters.  


It is likely that any legislation that may be introduced in Portugal will be based on the French model. There is no substitute for parental vigilance, but it is strongly recommended that some or all of the measures outlined above be implemented at a property.


We can provide further advice and also recommend contractors who are able to undertake any necessary work please contact use for further details.