why do indoor pools close when there is lightning

Why do indoor pools close when there is lightning? Indoor pools allow swimmers to enjoy the sport in a safe and regulated setting. But, it is a different story when there is a thunderstorm.

When lightning is present, the well-being of those using the pool must take precedence. 

And it often makes people ask, “Is it safe to swim indoors when there is lightning?”

Indoor pools usually have procedures in place to close when there is thunder and lightning. But, why can’t you swim in an indoor pool during a thunderstorm?

Indoor pools close to ensure the safety of swimmers, as lightning can travel through water, raising risks of electrical shock and harm. 

Can Lightning Strike Your Indoor Swimming Pool?

can lightning strike your indoor swimming pool

Experts believe that lightning can enter a structure in various ways.

It usually happens through three ways, such as:

  • A direct hit
  • Through the ground
  • Through cables and wires stretching beyond the building

After entering a structure, lightning can pass through the telephone, electrical wires, plumbing, etc.

Therefore, it appears conceivable that it may hit an indoor swimming pool.

However, there have been no recorded instances of lethal lightning strikes occurring at indoor swimming pools.” None! Ever!”

Fact: Cloud-to-ground lightning bolts are a frequent occurrence, with approximately 100 striking the Earth's surface every second.

Why Do Indoor Pools Close When There Is Lightning?

indoor pools closure during lightning

It is true that there have been no recorded incidents of lightning hitting indoor swimming pools, but there are other reasons why it is safe to avoid swimming during thunderstorms.

Here are some possible explanations as to why swimming pools close in the case of lightning:

Electrical Safety

Lightning strikes have the ability to unleash an immense quantity of electrical energy, surpassing the temperatures found on the sun’s surface.

When a bolt of lightning strikes the earth or nearby buildings, it has the potential to cause power surges in electrical systems.

Indoor pools rely on various electric equipment to function properly.

During a lightning strike, the electrical components can be overwhelmed or harmed by the abrupt increase in power.   

electrical safety
Electrical Equipment in Indoor PoolsRisk of Damage During Thunderstorm
Lightning systemsElectrical shorts, bulb blowouts
Filtration systemsBurnout or malfunction
Heating systemsElectrical faults
Chlorination systemsComponent damage
Water circulation systemsMotor damage, pump failure
Automatic safety featuresControl failure
Audio and video equipmentMalfunction, electrical shorts

In order to ensure the safety of swimmers and minimize potential risks, indoor pools prioritize electrical safety by temporarily closing their facilities during thunderstorms.

Risk of Power Outages

risk of power outages

Power lines, transformers, and other electrical infrastructure are susceptible to damage caused by lightning strikes. If it happens, you may witness power outages.

If an indoor pool experiences a power outage, it may cause disruptions to essential systems required for the pool’s functioning.

The filtration system guarantees pure and sanitary water, while the water circulation system aids in maintaining optimal water balance and avoiding stagnation.

In the absence of electricity, these systems might experience failure, resulting in a decline in the quality of water and the potential proliferation of harmful bacteria.

Structural Integrity

structural integrity

When a building is struck by lightning, it has the potential to produce strong electromagnetic forces that propagate within the edifice.

Due to their large size and intricate roofing systems, indoor pools are especially susceptible to the effects of lightning strikes.

The powerful electrical energy has the potential to flow through metal structures, electrical wiring, and plumbing systems.

It could lead to structural harm or compromise the building’s integrity.

To minimize the potential for structural damage and ensure the safety of individuals, indoor pools are closed during lightning storms.

Fact: Fires, explosions, or physical damage to the pool facility can occur as a result of lightning strikes.

Evacuation Safety

evacuation safety

The presence of lightning can be a major danger to people who are in or near the vicinity of a swimming pool.

In the event of a thunderstorm, the utmost priority is the well-being of all individuals on site, such as:

  • Swimmers
  • Lifeguards
  • Staff members

If lightning is observed or thunder is audible, there is a significant likelihood of a close-range strike.

By promptly evacuating the indoor pool, the risk of injuries caused by lightning is significantly minimized.

Water Conductivity

water conductivity

The conductivity of water plays a vital role in comprehending the potential danger posed by lightning strikes in close proximity to a swimming pool.

Water, being a superb conductor of electricity, enables the smooth passage of electric currents.

In the event of a lightning strike near an indoor pool, there is a possibility that the electrical current may pass through the ground and potentially make its way into the pool water.

This presents a notable danger to individuals who are swimming or in close proximity to the water.

Fact: By shutting down the pool, the possibility of lightning-triggered currents is eradicated, diminishing the chance of severe harm or electric shock.  

Lifeguard Safety

lifeguard safety

Lifeguards have a crucial responsibility in guaranteeing the well-being of individuals swimming in indoor pools.

When lifeguards detect lightning, it becomes crucial for them to prioritize both their personal safety and the safety of the individuals they are responsible for.

Lightning strikes present a considerable danger to people in exposed spaces or close to windows, as these locations serve as potential entry points for lightning into a structure.

The Role of Lifeguards

In order to ensure the safety of the pool area and its surroundings, lifeguards may find it necessary to evacuate the pool area and take refuge in a secure indoor spot.

Ensuring the safety of lifeguards is crucial by implementing this necessary precautionary measure, which safeguards them from the potential hazards of lightning strikes.

This enables them to fulfill their responsibility of maintaining a secure atmosphere for swimmers once the danger has subsided.  

Insurance and Liability

insurance and liability

Owners and operators of pools frequently find themselves constrained by insurance policies and legal responsibilities.

They give utmost importance to the well-being of individuals utilizing the pool.

The policies and regulations might clearly indicate the need to shut down the pool in the event of severe weather, like thunderstorms and lightning.

Adhering to these guidelines is crucial for reducing legal responsibility and guaranteeing the safety of individuals utilizing the pool amenities.

Not following these rules may result in legal repercussions and financial obligations if an accident or injury occurs due to negligence.

Emergency Response Limitations

emergency response limitations

Emergency response capabilities can be greatly affected during a thunderstorm.

Emergency responders, such as paramedics and firefighters, might encounter difficulties in promptly accessing the pool facility due to unfavorable weather conditions.

The potential for these delays to worsen the seriousness of medical incidents or drownings increases, thereby endangering the lives of individuals to a greater extent.

To decrease the chances of accidents or emergencies happening, it is advisable to close the pool during thunderstorms.

This precautionary measure helps minimize the need for immediate emergency response.  

Fact: Lightning discharges have the ability to generate electromagnetic waves, which can cause interference with radio signals, leading to possible disruptions in communication. 

What are the Lightning Rules for Swimming Pools?

lightning rules for swimming pools

By taking proactive measures to close the pool during inclement weather, pool owners and operators showcase their dedication to:

  • Upholding a secure atmosphere
  • Safeguarding themselves from potential legal ramifications
  • Placing the well-being of pool users as their utmost priority

Here are some of the most common lightning rules implemented by pool owners:

Clear the pool areaThunder and lightning should prompt swimmers, lifeguards, and personnel to leave the pool.
Seek shelterMove to a safe inside spot away from windows and doors. Enclosed spaces with plumbing and electrical are safer.
Wait for safe conditionsThe pool should stay closed for at least 30 minutes after the last lightning or thunder.
Safety education and trainingPool workers should undertake lightning safety and first aid training.
Communication and monitoringPool operators should employ lightning detection systems, weather notifications, and notify pool closures.

Keep in mind that the specific guidelines for lightning safety may differ based on:

  • Local regulations
  • Facility Protocols
  • The advice provided by relevant safety organizations

It is highly recommended to comply with the instructions given by pool authorities and abide by any safety rules in place during thunderstorms and lightning occurrences. 


indoor pools

Why do indoor pools close when there is lightning? There are a number of reasons, but mainly, indoor pools must close during lightning storms to protect swimmers.

Lightning may be deadly and unpredictable. Operators and authorities show their dedication to safety by closing indoor pools during thunderstorms.

Temporary closures are worth the risk of life and proper aquatic facility procedures.

Safety should always come first; closing indoor pools during lightning helps keep swimmers and employees safe.