Pool Rules

1. Overview

City of Syracuse Parks & Recreation’s Pool Rules and Expectations

Each year, we welcome thousands of patrons to our 2 indoor pools and 8 outdoor pools to cool off, learn to swim, stay fit and have fun at our pools. For the health and safety of everyone, rules and expectations need to be adhered to. The management reserves the right to refuse admitting to, or eject from the pool premises, any person(s) failing to comply with any of these health and safety regulations.

Swimming activities present certain inherent risks and dangers.  Participants assume any and all risks of injury, property damage, death or other loss arising from engaging in such swimming activities within the City of Syracuse pool facilities. 

City of Syracuse Parks and Recreation is not liable for any lost, stolen, or damaged personal property within the pool facilities.

City of Syracuse Parks and Recreation is not liable for any damages or injuries sustained as a result of not following the Pool Rules and Expectations.

2. What to Know Before You Go

  • No person may use the pool unless it is officially open, and lifeguards are on duty.
  • All patrons are required to wear acceptable swimwear. Patrons in street clothes and street shoes are not allowed on pool deck. A swimsuit must be worn. Unacceptable swimwear includes cut-offs, boxers, undergarments, denim/jeans, zippers, belts, shorts below the knee, baggy clothing, and cloth/regular disposal diapers.  Infants are required to wear properly fitted swim diapers with elastic bottoms. Infant swimsuits containing flotation devices must be U.S. Coast Guard approved. Sandals, rubber flip-flops and water shoes are allowed on deck.
  • All patrons must shower onsite before entering pool deck.
  • A specific height requirement must be met for entry, regardless of age. A swim proficiency test is required upon each entry if patron measures below height requirement. Requirements vary by location. From floor to underarm, patrons must be:
  • Patrons under the minimum height requirement and unable to demonstrate swim proficiency must remain within arms-length of a responsible parent/guardian at all times. This requires parents/guardians to be in water with feet on pool floor.  Maximum of 3 persons per adult/guardian. A proficiency swim test is required for each patron if parent/guardian does not meet height requirements, even when swim proficiency is demonstrated by parent/guardian.
  • Lockers are not available at outdoor pools. Lockers are available at indoor pools only. Patrons must provide and use their own lock. Overnight use is not permitted. We are not responsible for loss or theft of any personal belongings.
  • Admission may be denied for: Intoxication/impairment due to alcohol or drugs; bandages, open wounds, sores, skin infections, or communicable diseases etc.; or any condition which would jeopardize the health and safety of patrons and staff.
  • Masks, fins, snorkels, water toys or flotation devices are not allowed. No noodles, water wings etc.
  • Baby carriages, strollers and car seats must be folded and placed along the fence. Bikes, scooters, shopping carts, chairs, umbrellas etc. are not allowed on pool deck.
  • Pool temperatures are not monitored for outdoor pools. Southwest Pool is typically 82°- 87°. Valley Pool is typically 80°- 84°.  

3. Swim Proficiency Tests

Daily swim proficiency tests are required for any swimmer who does not meet the height requirement and/or wishes to swim in deep water. Testing required for each entry and location. 

  • The shallow water proficiency test is required if the minimum height requirement is not met, regardless of age. The test includes approx. 25 yards of swimming, exiting the pool and jumping into deep water feet first.
  • The deep water proficiency test is required for deep water entry. The test includes approx. 50 yards of swimming with at least one face submersion, exiting the pool and jumping in deep water feet first.

4. General Pool Rules

  • All directives from lifeguards, Parks staff and police must be followed to remain in pool complex.
  • No running, horseplay, pushing, shoulder riding, dunking, profanity, or other forms of disruptive or disorderly behavior is allowed in the pool complex.
  • Pollution of the swimming pool is prohibited. No urinating, defecating, spitting, or blowing of the nose in pool at any time.
  • No diving or jumping into the pool, except in designated areas.
  • No food or drink allowed on deck. No glass containers of any kind are permitted in pool complex.
  • No alcoholic beverages, illicit drugs, smoking, or vaping allowed in pool complex.
  • Electronic equipment, including radios, cameras, and cellular phones, is not permitted on pool deck.
  • Accidents must be reported to pool staff immediately.
  • Do not distract or speak to lifeguards in rotation. Direct all questions, comments, and reports to the manager-on-duty or at the pool office window. Non-employees are not allowed in pool offices.
  • Restrooms and changing areas close 15 minutes after pool closes.

5. Pool Closing Policy

For your safety, pools will close due to:

  • Weather events such as lightning, thunderstorms and/or heavy rain
  • Mechanical/chemical issues
  • Water visibility/clarity
  • Incident/contamination responses
  • Syracuse City School District (SCSD) closures and/or cancellations during the school year

Find Cancellations/Closings here.

6. Diving Board Rules

One (1) person on the board and ladder at a time. No double bouncing. One Bounce only. Check the area in front of the diving board. It must be completely clear before the next person leaves the board. Dive or jump straight off the end of the board. Do not swim in front of the board. Available at Southwest Pool only.

7. Pool Schedule Swim Categories

Open Swim

  • Open to all ages
  • Free
  • Two lanes available for free lap swim - Note: Swim testing takes precedence during open swim hours.
  • No registration required.
  • Minimum height requirements and/or swim proficiency testing.
  • Available at all pools.

    Adult Swim

  • Open to age 16 and up
  • Free
  • Note that pool may be divided for multiple uses and “circle swim” is recommended for lap lanes (always swimming on the right side of the lane you’re in).
  • No registration required.
  • Minimum height requirements and/or swim proficiency testing.
  • Available at Southwest Pool and Valley Pool.

Lap Swim

  • Open to all ages
  • $3 fee or 1 coupon
  • Coupon booklets for lap swims (20 tickets for $55, 50 tickets for $125) are available at the Parks Main Office (412 Spencer Street, 13204) or at Valley Pool.
  • No registration required.
  • Minimum height requirements and/or swim proficiency testing.
  • Available at Valley Pool, Southwest Pool and select outdoor pools based on staff availability.

Learn to Swim

  • Youth lessons open to ages 14 mo. to 15; Adult lessons open to ages 16 and up.
  • $10 for city residents/$35 for non-city residents per person.  
  • Lessons offered in the fall, winter, spring, and summer for designated half hour sessions.
  • Registration required at syracuse.recdesk.com. Opens approx. 2 weeks prior to class start date.
  • Available at Valley Pool, Southwest and select outdoor pools based on staff availability.

8. Pool Locations & Hours

For a listing of our pools and hours click HERE.