Making a Splash: What To Know About Pools with Diving Boards

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Key Takeaways

Diving boards are not all positives and so need to be carefully considered before adding one to your pool project. Their disadvantages include an increase in possible accidents which directly relates to higher insurance premiums. They also require more depth (a minimum of 7.5 feet) and a larger area so the pool needs to be big enough to comfortably accommodate the board.

There are two main types, the classic spring board and a solid platform if you want to have something to jump off of that can be designed inline with your pool style.

Any mention of a poolside diving board is inherently evocative. Just take a moment to let the concept sit in your mind. Feel the surge of emotion as you walk toward the board. The smell of chlorine, the light ripple of the wind as it skips over the water, and the potential for the perfect dive.

Adding a diving board to your pool isn’t always straightforward. There’s a lot to consider before doing so.

But as you read on, you’ll discover the pros, cons, and how to decide.

backyard pool with diving board in a leafy surrounding
Having a diving board adds another element to your pool for activities and fun

Negatives of a Diving Board

Before moving into all the great things about a diving board it’s important to take a moment and think about the larger picture. There’s obviously a lot to love about the possibility of a new diving board for your pool. But at the same time, there are some significant downsides that should be considered as well. You should consider the following factors when deciding if a diving board is the right choice for your home.

Higher Chance of Accidents

Accidents are one of the biggest reasons why people hold off on a diving board. There are some inherent risks to owning a pool. But it’s relatively easy to account for most of them. For example, pool covers can protect children and pets when you’re not around. But diving boards always carry an inherent risk of injury simply from how they’re used. After all, you’re climbing above the ground in order to deliberately fall back down again. And that jump is often going to be headfirst. While it can be done safely, you’re never going to be able to make it 100% risk-free. Though keep in mind that you can take precautions to significantly decrease the risk of accident and injury when using a diving board even if you can’t fully eliminate it. Also many mishaps and injuries around pools happen when getting out, walking around the pool or getting in and diving boards by their nature increase all three of these scenarios.

pair of feet at edge of diving board, waiting for pool to clear before jumping
It is important to be aware that diving boards can be the cause of increased chances of accidents around your pool. 

Higher Insurance

With the increased risk of accidents comes increased insurance rates.

Accidents involving pool diving boards have become so common that many insurance companies won’t even offer coverage.

Though it’s more likely that you will be able to get insurance – but at a higher-than-expected rate. This can also change your pool from an attractive extra if you want to sell your home into an issue that prospective buyers will be forced to deal with.

Less Pool Area

One of the best ways to decrease the chance of dive-related accidents is to increase the size of a pool. In particular, a larger deep end is a perfect way to ensure that dives won’t put people at risk of hitting the pool’s bottom. And designating a larger area for diving will also help keep everyone safe. But this creates some obvious problems. The first, of course, is the added cost of a larger deep end. But there’s also the fact that by adding room for diving you’re also decreasing space for everything else.

For example, you might want a tanning ledge. But installing one will also take up additional space in your pool. And, combined with the added requirements of the diving board, you might simply not have enough room. Similar problems are also found with accessories like a rolling deck pool cover. The rolling deck cover wouldn’t be usable because of the fact that there’s now an obstacle in its path. And these restrictions even carry over into areas that you probably wouldn’t suspect. For example, many people have their hearts set on the inherent elegance of black bottom pools. But while beautiful, a black bottom design also makes it hard to properly perceive depth. You absolutely don’t want to take that ability away from divers.

aerial view of a rectangular swimming pool with diving board
A diving board has to jut out over the water, this means the unobstructed area of the pool is reduced. Therefore usually diving boards only feature on pools that are already quite large.

Types of Diving Boards

Part of what makes pool ownership so fun is the versatility. You have a wide variety of different construction materials and styles to choose from. And this extends to your diving board. Though, in general, you can narrow the choices down to spring boards and jump platforms.

Spring Boards

A spring board, as the name suggests, provides a springlike effect when you jump from it. The diver’s movement on the board will cause it to compress and then “spring” the diver into the water. Spring boards are easily the most popular option for diving boards. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when looking at your spring board options. One of the most important is whether or not you have a saltwater pool. Salt, even at the levels found in a pool, is corrosive. So you’ll want to make sure that you choose highly resistant options like fiberglass or stainless steel spring boards if you have a saltwater pool. You’ll also want to clean a spring board more often if it’s used in those environments.

Jump Platforms

Conversely, a jump platform is typically fixed into place. In pool environments, a jump platform is often just made out of concrete or similar material to the surroundings. Though in general springboards are a more common choice for pools. On average you’ll typically find jump platforms in natural surroundings such as lakes or larger rivers. However, jump platforms do have some advantages for home use. Because they’re typically constructed of solid material they won’t need as much upkeep as a spring board. And this is especially true for saltwater environments. Also they can be made to seamlessly fit into the design you have for your outdoor area as opposed to a spring board which inherently always looks like a spring board.

Pool Depth for a Diving Board

The American Red Cross recommends a minimum of 9 feet as the minimum safe depth for diving. As such, it’s generally best to design the deep end of the pool around those numbers if you want a diving board. You might be tempted to handwave it with shallower depths.

But over 90% of spinal injuries from pool dives occur in water under six feet deep.

That extra three feet can quite literally be a lifesaver.

aerial view of a large inground pool with a diving board and loungers
For safety the depth of the pool needs to be more than 7.5 feet. Having a deep end inherently means that the pool needs to be large enough to have a pleasant gradient from the deep to the shallow end.

How Long Should My Diving Board Be?

Unlike depth, there’s no set rule for the best diving board length. But in general, people typically go for boards around six to eight feet long. Any longer and you encroach too much into the pool making the board an annoyance and hazard when swimming in the pool itself. 

Average Diving Board Height

The height of a diving board can vary considerably by personal preference. But on average, people generally go with one of two options. Lower boards are typically set at three feet and three inches above the water level. Anything higher than this is generally overkill for a residential pool setting.

twilight in the backyard of a home with a round inground swimming pool
There is no official height for a backyard diving board but generally they are around 3 feet from the surface of the water.

Can You Have a Diving Board With a Fiberglass Pool?

You’ve seen more than a few limitations on pool design so far. But you’re in luck if you’re wondering about fiberglass. You can still use a fiberglass design with a diving board, assuming that it meets the size and depth requirements we’ve touched on above.

a pool without any people in it with a diving board and reflections of clouds
Diving boards are not limited to just concrete pools, if your fiberglass pool is big and deep enough you can add a board to it.

Taking the Dive: Diving Board Pools and You

Now that you know the facts, there’s one last step to take before making a firm decision. Really think about everything you’ve learned up to this point. If the idea of a diving board still feels like the right decision then it’s time to act on that feeling. If you are looking for financing your pool project get in touch with us so we can help you make your dream pool a reality.

This blog is based on information available at the time of publishing and for the purpose of sharing information with the public related to swimming pools and projects that can be financed through Viking Capital. Although we strive to be complete and accurate, it is not information that is verified or maintained. It should not be relied upon for making financial decisions. An investment such as a swimming pool is significant. Viking Capital recommends consulting with a financial professional regarding your financing decisions and with pool professionals regarding pool options. To learn what financing options are available for you today, please apply with Viking Capital and you’ll receive your free loan consultation. Click Here to Apply.

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