Are Deep End/Diving Pools Really a Good Idea?
For my family, a diving board is a runway. It's all very dramatic. We waddle like penguins, strut like models, wave like royalty, and stroll like oblivious pedestrians...and then drop into the deep end of the pool, still “walking.”
Many people assume that a deep end pool is the way to go. Not everyone wants or needs a deep end, but the design definitely has a place in the market. Even though we have our own deep end pool design (and it's pretty awesome), we don’t focus on them at River Pools. However, we do acknowledge that there’s a need for them and a lot of people do want them. We’re going to talk about the advantages and disadvantages.
Quick fact: a pool needs minimum 8 ft. feet of water along with meeting other specifications to be considered a Type III diving pool. That's actual water, not just the depth of the pool. The legal length and height restrictions on diving/jumping boards are relative to the size and depth of the pool.
Advantages of a deep end pool
The main advantage of a pool with a deep end is that you can have a diving board or slide. Kids (and adults!) can jump off the side and do tricks.
In my own experience, I’ve also enjoyed swimming down to the bottom to pick up coins or dive for sticks thrown for me. (I realize now that this sounds like a game of fetch. You know what? It was. And it was worth it, because my mom provided Oreos for successful retrievals.)
Disadvantages of a deep end pool
As you’d expect, you pay more per square foot on a pool. Deep ends therefore add to your expenses just due to the extra square footage, as well as the cost of a safety ladder(s) and a diving board or slide if you want one. Side note: some deep-end pools have benches that can be used for exiting the pool (like ours....like I said, it's pretty awesome.)
(I guess you could forgo the safety ladder and leave your least favorite relative stranded out there. Legally, though, I can’t recommend that.)
But it’s also not a very functional pool in that all you can do in two-thirds of the space is diving board tricks and treading water.
Keep in mind that you need a transition between the shallow end and the deep end. You don't design a sudden cliff; it slopes down gradually, sometimes taking up a third of the pool floor to do so. And that slope is basically useless.
The slope is too deep to stand on the pool floor, so you can’t play most games. However, it’s also too shallow to do fancy tricks. Lose-lose.
The people who aren’t using the deep end are often crammed into the shallow section, which is usually too shallow.
One option to resolve this problem is bucket seats in the deep end, but even this might not fit every situation.
Considering your options
Should you get a pool with a deep end? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an answer that worked for every single pool owner? Get ready for some good old self-analysis: it comes down to personal preference and what you’ll enjoy.
As with all pool options, analyze your needs and what you’ll really be doing with the pool. If deep-end tricks are more of a “just in case” thing for you, it might be better to focus on your “just about every time” priorities. But if you know you'll use a deep end regularly and love it, go for it!
Some people are concerned that they won’t have the full pool experience without 8 feet of water. However, we’ve found that most of the time, that’s not the case.
Most fiberglass pools today are designed to go from the shallow end to about 6 ft. deep, which gives you the whole pool to play games. Kids can still jump in and do tricks. You can have a slide. Adults and kids alike can use the whole pool.
At River Pools, our priority is customer satisfaction, so we listen to what our customers want. In fact, we just finished a mold for a new 40-foot-long fiberglass pool model with an 8.5-foot deep end. It’s giant. Bonus: if you get a little tired out there, the pool has built-in deep end seats and a safety rail along the walls.
We're super excited about this model because it maximizes shallow-end space and is deep enough to be a Type III diving pool—read: you can have a diving board!
Instead of the usual flat shallow end, our shallow end actually slopes down a little. This makes it deeper so it isn't awkwardly shallow for adults. It also provides more floor space in that area so people aren't so squished together.
We manufacture and install our fiberglass pools in Virginia and Maryland (and in other areas of the country through our dealers). Take a look at all our pool models! If you’re interested in learning more about fiberglass pools, we want to answer any questions you have.
Want even more awesome information? If so, read our comprehensive ebook about fiberglass pools, and get in touch with us to see if they might be the right choice for you.