Pool deep end design

We recently had someone reach out to us asking about designing a deep end that kids can safely jump in to. We thought our response might help a few others out there:

Dear Momentum Pools,

I am sorry to bother you but I found your website and you sound very sensible when it comes to building a pool.

I live in South Africa and am building a pool that is 6m x 6m. Please can you assist me as I cannot find anyone here who I trust is knowledgeable enough to ensure that I build a safe but usable pool.

I have 2 children (9yrs and 6yrs), both very good swimmers. I would like to have a jumping platform at one end that will be 1.5 m above the pool water level. Please can you advise me of what a safe deep end area would be around the platform. I will not let them dive in but they will jump and likely do flips /somersaults into the pool.

I would also like a usable shallow end as you described of approx 1m deep (as my kids love playing games in the pool) so I am trying to offset that need against the need for depth for safety from the platform.

Please Please can you assist??

Intuitively most people just believe that if you want to build a pool that is safe for diving you just build it deeper and more expansive around the diving  / jumping platform, this cant always be so as building a pool that is too deep is a danger in itself and becomes largely unusable for young kids etc. Similarly the overall size of a domestic pool isn’t limitless nor is the budget the average householder can apply to building a pool. 

The type and style of pool you are proposing to build is very different to the style of pool built in Australia and more specifically, Melbourne  – where we are based. Here pools are definitely architectural features heavily copying the rectilinear style of architecture currently in favour. From your description and without me having my head around the South African pool scene, I figure resort style pools are the vogue (which is very much the American style); characterised by free-form shapes, expansive size, waterfalls and grottos etc. The main difference apart from visual between “architectural” and “resort” style pools is that resort pools are highly functional hence all the diving and lounging type features like jumping rocks and beach areas etc. Such layouts are ideal for kids – who are always the primary users.

In Australia, no sane pool builder would fit a diving rock or platform for that matter, as we have an extraordinarily, litigious system – often resulting in a maelstrom of legal ramifications for the service provider – be that the pool builder (who built the dive platform) or the pool owner (who owns the dive platform). Within the Australian legal system there is an onus ( – an onerous one!!!!) to provide a safe environment – where you have control over the environment, this is often perplexing and at times mitigates the commonsensical nature of managing your own actions…….Go figure!

As our pool depth section indicates, I would build the pool to a depth of not less than 2.2m in the area immediately around the jumping platform; I would also instruct the pool builder to build sheer walls on the pool to floor level, no large radius floor  / wall intersections ( this gives the maximum water depth to the whole of the deep end of the pool and not just over the deepest point. The shallow end depth of 1.0m seems about right for the kids to play in; but remember the transition from shallow end to deep end will involve a steep gradient with a descent of at least 1.2 m over a comparatively short run of about 2m (  – allowing for deep end to stretch for 3.0m of 6.0m length of pool and shallow end to occupy 1m of the 6.0m length). If it is possible to lengthen pool I would advise to do so and reduce the width  – this will increase the horizontal “run” of the pool therefore  helping to reduce the steep gradient of the floor between the shallow and deep end.

I am sorry I can’t help further as I don’t have a lot of practical experience with building this style of pool.

Good luck