Pond safety is a pretty tough topic to be able to come to any one solution as to what would be definite guidelines for safety. The difficulty in defining this matter comes from the fact that there are so many types of ponds, waterfalls, koi ponds, fountains, water features, and streams. Each one has its own safety issues that need to be addressed. Discussing some good general guidelines for pond safety should help any reader fine tune some pond safety guidelines for your particular pond installation. Safety is an issue/concern that is often expressed by people who are in the pond market looking at doing a constructed pond installation. Pond installation safety can be addressed regionally as well in that guidelines, regulations and codes of safety will vary from state to state or even town to town; a New Jersey pond installation will not be looked at as the same pond if it is a Pennsylvania pond installation.
In general it should be recognized that any body of water, regardless of the size, has the potential to cause a hazard. For this discussion we’ll try to keep the safety discussion in the realm of falling into or drowning. As part of our services for a pond installation we do a pond orientation for the new pond owner so they understand exactly what was installed, where it is, and how it works. We also make sure to point out the safety features of any pond installation. The shelves in a pond, for example, are not solely for housing aquatic plants, they are meant to function as “entry or exit steps” within the pond to avoid any sudden drops in depth, and this should be taught to the pond owners and any children that may come in contact with the water feature. It should be pointed out where is the best entry and exit for any given pond, the deeper areas should be pointed out as well as the shallows. The perimeter of the pond should be explored with the pond owners and kids to point out which areas are best for stepping on, sitting on, or standing; and which areas cannot be used for traffic. It is a good idea to even allow a supervised dip in the pond to familiarize oneself on how to navigate inside the pond.
All areas where equipment is housed should be pointed out and explained and these areas are best left to themselves apart from maintenance of the systems. A GFCI outlet should be used with all pond equipment and all equipment that needs power should be inspected frequently, especially after extreme weather, for its condition and to make sure all connections are tight and protected, DO NOT assume that once you plug in your system it is a walk away type of deal, check frequently the condition of your equipment, you never know when that cute little chipmunk has decided to chew a bit on the cord to your pump, which can represent a safety issue.
Finally, whether decorative or functional, some sort of flotation device should be kept near and handy to any pond installation, if you ever need it you’ll be glad to have it on hand. For larger ponds a life preserver and rope should be close to shore. Safety is an extensive topic that will be visited again, but use your head, take the time to look around to identify what could be a liability to the safety of your constructed water garden, koi pond, waterfall, or fish pond. Consulting with a pond professional who can give you insight into safety factors is a worthwhile investment, call Full Service Aquatics today to schedule a safety consultation for your NJ pond installation today.