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Do I Need a Fence Around My Pool?

Contemporary Essex PVC fence with gate and large arbor encloses this pool area.

I’m looking to install a pool on my property. I’ve

picked out the pool, but what should I do about safety?

Pools are a beautiful addition to the yard and wonderful for cooling off in the hot summer months but they do pose a drowning risk, which is why many cities and towns have regulations regarding fencing around pools. According to the Center for Disease Control, among those 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes. According to the CDC, placing a fence around the pool and removing pool toys after swimming so children are not tempted by them, greatly reduces the risk. Reference: CDC Fact Sheet

If you are thinking about installing a pool fence in Massachusetts, remember to choose an accredited and knowledgeable contractor. Make sure that your pool installer is an active member of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP). Your fence installer should be an active member of the American Fence Association (AFA).

General Rules for Pool Fences and Gates*


  • The top of the fence should be at least 48″ tall (above finished grade)

  • Vertical distance between bottom of fence and grade shall not exceed 4″

  • Distance between vertical members shall not exceed 1 ¾″ when horizontal rails are less than 45″ apart

  • Distance between vertical members shall not exceed 4″ when horizontal rails are more than 45″ apart

  • Mesh for chain link shall not exceed 1 ¼″ (measured between two parallel sides of diamond)

  • Have a 48″ “clear zone” between the fence and the pool/pool structures to prevent easier climbing over the fence


Single leaf gates should:

  • Always open outward away from pool

  • Have a self-closing mechanism

  • Have a self-latching mechanism

Double leaf gates should:

  • Have a padlock or other locking device for when gate is not in use

*All this information and more can be found within ASTM designation F 1908. It should be noted that this is just a guideline. You should contact your local city/town planning board for specific information on their codes and regulations.

Questions? Call us at 781-821-5900 to speak to an expert regarding your pool fence project.

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