Lifeguards and Operators of Public Pools – Summary of Regulations


Effective November 2021, the Department of Health is no longer issuing LIFEGUARD LICENSES.

Instead of a license from the Department of Health, lifeguards are now required to have a paper or digital copy of their training certificate at the pool when they are at work.  The certificate must be from one of these approved training agencies: American Red Cross; YMCA; Starguard; International Lifeguard Training Program (Ellis).

POOL OPERATOR licenses may be obtained in person or by mail.

Applicants must be at least 16 years of age.

Most pools are required to have one or more lifeguards on duty on the deck whenever the pool is open. Lifeguards must be present in the ratio of at least one guard for every 50 people, or fraction of 50, in the pool. More guards may be required if necessary to adequately ensure the safety of the bathers.

Lifeguards are not required at the following types of facilities:

  • Hotel and motel pools that are five feet deep or less and under 2,500 square feet in size. The pool must be used only by the hotel’s registered guests.
  • Physical therapy pools.
  • Pools located at 55-and-over senior communities, when the pool is under 2,500 square feet in size and use of the pool is limited to residents of the community.
  • Pools located at health clubs, when the pool is five feet deep or less, under 2500 square feet in size and use of the pool is limited to members and guests who are at least 18 years old.

An Anne Arundel County Department of Health licensed pool operator is required to be on site at all times when a pool or spa is open.

CPR and First Aid Personnel:

There must be a person at the pool or spa who has current and valid certificates in CPR and first aid.

Disinfection and Water Chemistry:






Chlorine, free1.5 - 5.0 ppm4.0 - 5.0 ppm3.0 - 5.0 ppm3.0 - 5.0 ppm
Chlorine, combinedLess than 0.2 ppmLess than 0.2 ppmLess than 0.2 ppmLess than 0.2 ppm
pH7.2 - 7.87.2 - 7.87.2 - 7.87.2 - 7.8
Total Alkalinity60 - 180 ppm60 - 180 ppm60 - 180 ppm60 - 180 ppm
Calcium Hardness150 - 400 ppm150 - 400 ppm150 - 400 ppm150 - 400 ppm
Cyanuric Acid*30 - 100 ppm-30 - 100 ppm30 - 100 ppm
Water temp, max88 F104 F-96 F
Turnover8 hours30 minutes2 hours6 hours

*Cyanuric acid shall not be used in spas or in indoor pools. Cyanuric acid use is optional in outdoor pools.

The water shall be clear enough so that the main drains are clearly visible and sharply defined when observed from the side of the pool or spa.

The minimum flow rate that is necessary to maintain the applicable turnover time shall be posted in each pool's pump room.

Operating Records:

A pool operator shall test the water in one-hour intervals when a pool or spa is open. The initial test is to be performed half an hour before opening.

The following items shall be recorded hourly:

  1. Free chlorine residual
  2. Combined chlorine residual
  3. pH
  4. Water clarity
  5. Water temperature (if heated)
  6. Flow rate

The following items shall be recorded weekly for a pool and daily for a spa:

  1. Total alkalinity
  2. Calcium hardness
  3. Cyanuric acid (if used)

The results shall be recorded on Operating Record forms supplied by the Department of Health or by the pool owner. Record sheets shall be kept on the premises for at least two years.

A pool operator shall check each pool and spa every day before opening to look for suction entrapment hazards. The Entrapment Hazard Checklist must be filled out daily and kept with the pool's operating records.

The following items are required to be kept at all pools:

  1. A complete first aid kit with Band-Aids, gauze, tape, eyewash, bee-sting swabs, etc.
  2. CPR mask
  3. Disposable latex gloves
  4. Bloodborne pathogen control kit (blood cleanup kit)
  5. Backboard with head immobilizer
  6. 10-foot pole
  7. Rescue tube(s)
  8. Automated external defibrillator (AED)

A pool or spa must have a working telephone at all times.

Test Kits:

A pool and spa shall be supplied with a test kit that is capable of performing all of the required water tests.

Restrooms/Locker Rooms:

Every pool must have working toilets, sinks and showers available. Supplies such as soap, toilet paper and paper towels must be present at all times.

Disease Control:

A person with any of the following conditions may not be permitted to use any pool or spa:

  • A contagious disease that may be transmitted through water;
  • An open cut, blister or other lesion; or
  • Diarrhea

Injury and Illness Reports:

A serious injury occurring at a pool or spa must be reported to the Department of Health within 24 hours. A waterborne illness contracted at a pool or spa must be reported to the Department of Health within 24 hours of the owner's or operator's knowledge of the illness.

For more information:

Anne Arundel County Department of Health 
Environmental Health 
Sanitary Engineering Program 
3 Harry S. Truman Parkway 
Annapolis, MD 21401