What is a Safe Depth to Dive into a Pool?

Safety is the #1 priority for any pool owner or prospective pool buyer. This is an excellent question about the design of your pool. I’ve even learned a lot about how people feel about this topic when they build their pool recently around this topic.

The minimum safest depth to dive into your pool is 9 ft deep according to the American Red Cross. Legally, a residential diving pool’s minimum depth to have a diving board installed is 8 ft. deep. This depth will also satisfy for head-first diving off of the decking or a jumping rock. Only 4.8% of diving accidents occur in depths of at least 8 feet deep. 57.2% of pool diving accidents occur in water 4 ft deep or less and 16.8% of diving accidents result from running & misjudged distances. Only 10% of accidents involve a diving board.

In the rest of the article, I’ll answer some other questions about safe depths to dive into. But if you are looking to buy a new pool, you should check out our article about what depth of pool is best to find out which depth of the pool is right for you and your family.

How Deep does my Pool need to be for Diving?

I wanted to follow up a little bit more on this initial question and the overall topic of this article. When discussing diving, we are talking about head-first diving. This type of dive should only be done at 8 ft. deep in residential pools but even better is 9 ft. per the recommendation of the Red Cross. Your pool builder will not legally be able to install any diving boards unless you reach that minimum depth.

If you have a family of rambunctious boys and girls then the right decision might be to opt for a deeper pool like a diving pool even though a pool with more shallow end is better for relaxation and games. It might be the best of both worlds to provide a section of the pool where diving can happen. As we all know, children don’t always listen.

Also, according to the statistics, over 50% of diving accidents involve the use of alcohol. This means drunk adults can even be caught up in the fun and make mistakes. A deeper pool in general might just help prevent these types of serious accidents from happening.

Are Diving Pools a Good Idea?

I think this is really a subjective decision and personally, I’ve always leaned towards a pool that goes 6 ft. deep with just jumping rocks. I discuss that more here in my article about the most popular pool depth. I want to give you the chance to hear feedback from pool owners online about if a diving pool is a good idea or not:

T.J. asks, “How did you decide how deep you wanted your pool and if you wanted a diving board or not? I originally thought I wanted just a 6-foot deep end no diving. But now I’m thinking about going 8 feet and doing a diving board! Any tips on making the decision? If you did a diving board or didn’t, how is it? Are you happy?”

We have an 8’ deep end with a diving board. Our kids and their friends of all ages all LOVE it!! They actually spend most of their time in the deep end (we have 5 kids that range from 7-17) playing on floaties, jumping off the diving board and making up all sorts of games.

I wouldn’t change it!!

Anonymous, Swimming Pool Group

We bought our house with pool already and it is 8 ft in deep end, with diving board. We love having it that deep and the diving board gets a lot of use. It’s especially fun at parties as people try to outdo each other with the funniest jumps. If I ever built a pool, there is no question I would do a diving board.

Anonymous, Swimming Pool Group, Owner of a 18.5″ 36.5″ pool

We went 6ft no diving bc adults don’t hang out in 8ft of water, if your deep end is just for a diving board it’s a waste of half the pool just our 2 cents we did add a bench to the deep end for more seating

Anonymous, Swimming Pool Group

Opinions vary on if the deep pool is the best or not but it really does depend on who is using the pool and what they love to do.

Can You Dive in an Above-Ground Pool?

Absolutely not, there is not an above-ground pool that I am aware of that you can dive into. Above ground pools, the average depth is only 4 feet and this is the depth that statistically causes the most amount of diving injuries. If you are worried about head-first diving then you must look at investing in an inground pool.

My Final Thoughts

An 8 ft. deep pool isn’t my dream pool personally. But, I’ve learned a lot after hearing feedback from many families with kids and the overwhelming amount of people that said they feel much more comfortable with kids playing around a deeper pool really does make sense to me. If you go with a 6ft pool, you might find yourself constantly yelling at the kids to stop trying to head-first dive. Giving them a space to do just that in an 8ft-9ft deep pool might just be worth the peace of mind.


The founder of Coolpoolhelp.com. I wanted a place to share all of the great information from my family to other pool lovers, builders, and those looking to buy a pool.

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