Swimming Pool Policies and Rules

Man jumping into pool

Woman holding a child in a poolCity Wide Swim Test and Life Jacket Policy

The Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks Department has enacted a swim test policy for the safety of all swimmers at city pools. The policy is intended to enhance the safety of all pool patrons by providing lifeguards and caregivers with knowledge of each child's swimming ability. In order to determine the level each child's swimming ability each child will be asked to complete the swim test upon arrival at the pool.

Swim Test 

  • swim 25 yards continuously (no stopping, touching the bottom, or grabbing the side of the pool or the rope)   
  •  tread water for 1 minute continuously (no touching the bottom, or grabbing the side of the pool or the rope)   

All persons under 18 must wear a swim band issued by the lifeguard staff to identify their swimming ability. Children that decline the swim test or that are unable to complete the swim test to the satisfaction of the lifeguard staff will also be provided a lifejacket. Patrons may use their own Coast Guard approved PFDs that must first be inspected by the swimming pool staff.

Lifejacket Requirements

Children under 48 inches tall and unable to complete the swim test (Red Band) must wear a lifejacket at all times in the pool, even if they are being held by an adult. 

Persons under 18 years of age, over 48 inches tall, and unable to complete the swim test (Yellow Band) must wear a lifejacket at most times in the swimming pool.

Lifejackets are not required in splash pads and the water play areas at Kimberley Park pool, Bolton Park pool, Parkland pool, Polo pool, Mineral Springs pool and Winston Waterworks. 

Swim Test and Life Jacket Policies

Please review the following pool policies:




  1. Red Wristband
  2. Yellow Wristband
  3. Green Wristband

Children who do not pass the swim test will wear a red wrist band and must wear a life jacket in the pool, please review the Red Wristbandfollowing to learn about red wristbands:

  • Life jackets are not required in the splashpad or water play area.
  • Only pool-issued or U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets may be worn.
  • Red wristbands may not use the slide or diving board.
  • Red wristbands cannot go past the first lane rope (water is less than 3 1/2 feet deep).
  • Must be remain within arms distance of an adult while in the swimming pool 


Pool Rules

No one is allowed in the pool or pool area unless a City of Winston-Salem lifeguard is on duty. Lifeguards have final authority to enforce all rules of the pool. For safety reasons, conversations with lifeguards who are actively watching the swimming pools must be kept brief.

  • All children under 18 must adhere to the City Wide Swim Test and Lifejacket Policy
  • All non- swimmers under 18 ( Red Swimmers) must be within arms distance of an adult at all times in the pool 
  • All children under 6 years must have an adult with them in the pool, water play, or splash pad areas.
  • Please walk at all times when on the pool deck. For safety reasons, running is strictly prohibited.
  • Horseplay and foul language are not permitted in the pool area.
  • No diving allowed in areas of the pools less than 5 feet deep or in pools not approved for diving.
  • Infants and toddlers must wear appropriate swim diapers in pool areas.
  • Goggles that cover the nose and breath holding activities not allowed.
  • Food and drink must be kept at least four feet from the pool (preferably in the concessions area).
  • Smoking, glass containers, and potentially dangerous objects are not allowed in the pool area.
  • Alcoholic beverages, drugs, gambling, and tobacco are not allowed in the pool area.
  • No inflatables, floats, infant riders, water wings, etc. are allowed in the pool, only Coast Guard approved flotation is allowed
  • No animals or pets allowed in the pool or on the deck.
  • Swimmers must shower before entering the water.
  • All bandages must be removed and discarded prior to swimming.
  • No person with skin, eye, ear, or nasal infections allowed in the pool.
  • No person with communicable diseases allowed in the pool.
  • Lap swimmers should circle swim during high usage times.
  • The City of Winston-Salem assumes no responsibility for accidents, injuries, or loss, theft or damage of personal items.
  • No refunds or rain checks due to weather delays, closures or cancellations.
  • Toys and games permitted in the pool at the discretion of the lifeguards.
  • Follow the instructions of the lifeguards, they are at the pool for the protection of all patrons.

Proper Swim Attire

In order to gain entry into the pool area, you must be clothed in proper swim attire.

  • Only proper swim wear is permitted in the swimming pool
  • All persons entering in the facility must either be wearing or provide proof of appropriate swim wear to enter the facility 
  • Clean white t-shirts may be worn over proper swim attire.
  • Colored t-shirts will not be allowed in the pool.
  • All infants/toddlers that require a diaper must wear swimmer diapers and proper swimwear.
  • City pools are family friendly. All swim wear must be appropriate.
  • Approved water shoes are permitted.

Proper Swimming Attire (PDF)

Attire Not Allowed In Pools

The following attire is not proper swim attire for a city swimming pool and will not be allowed.

  • Athletic/Basketball shorts
  • Cargo pants
  • Denim shorts/cut-offs
  • Male or female undergarments, (sports bras (unless designed to go in water), underwear, or boxers)
  • Non-Coast Guard approved flotation suits
  • Socks or shoes

Reasons for Proper Swimwear

Pool patrons often ask, "Why do I have to wear proper swimwear?" Here are just a few reasons:

  • Any "colored" or "dyed" material (unless specifically made for swimming) can bleed into the pool, affecting water chemistry and balance. (This is also a reason for turbidity in pools.)
  • Cotton and similar materials can absorb the chemicals in the water, causing the water to become less effective at maintaining the proper chemical balance or may cloud the water.
  • Street clothes can be dirty and will add dirt to the pool's water. They can also transport airborne contaminants and fecal matter, which will contaminate the pool water. Cotton can also break down in the water and clog the filters.
  • Swim suit material is generally made of Lycra and Nylon which are the non-absorbent materials for swimming and are the best fabrics for proper swim attire and do not weigh down swimmers in the water.


Inclement Weather

For more information and to stay up to date with inclement weather possibilities, please review the Inclement Weather page.