What are the rules for fences around inflatable and portable pools?

Pool safety is not just about compliance with regulation: It’s about keeping your children and your family safe by preventing accidents around water. However, understanding the minimum requirements for pools can get confusing, especially when it comes to inflatable and portable pools.

To help you out, we’ve put together this introductory guide about portable pool fencing to keep your backyard compliant and, more importantly, your loved ones safe.

Please note that this blog is focused on the regulations in Western Australia and all pool owners should consult their local state and territory guidelines.

The Importance of Permanent or Temporary Pool Fencing

Pool fencing is critically important. While pools, inflatable or otherwise, bring endless hours of fun, relaxation and enjoyment to the home, preventing accidents with adequate fencing must remain a top priority.

The reality is that pools, even shallow and portable ones, can present a drowning risk that is commonly overlooked. It’s not just deep, permanent swimming pools that require fencing.

Of course, not all portable pools are alike. Some portable pools, even inflatable ones, can be quite large in size and deep. Often, we think of small kiddie pools, but larger portable pools are often designed with adults in mind as well.

Not all portable pools are inflatable either. Some come with soft-sides and others with surprising rigid sides that, despite not being buried into the ground, can be quite ‘permanent’ seeming.

What is a portable pool?

There are three main types of portable pools, all require fencing if the water is deeper than 30cm.


1. Inflatable Pools

blue inflatable portable swimming pool
Image from Amazon.com.au

Inflatable pools are often made of PVC or a similar material so that the sides can be inflated with air. Designed to be lightweight and easy to set up or move around, these portable pools are often smaller than soft-sided or rigid-walled pools.

However, they surprisingly tend to have higher walls so the depth of water within them can be even deeper than some other pools.

2. Soft-sided Pools

Blue soft shell portable swimming pool
Image from Amazon.com.au

Soft-sided pools can also feature walls of PVC (or vinyl) but with reinforcements to provide a stronger structure. They typically do not need to be inflated but are still relatively straightforward to set up and dismantle.

Soft-sided pools vary quite widely in design, size, and depth so ensuring you’re across the relevant regulatory and safety practices in regard to pool fencing is important.


3. Rigid-sided Pools

grey hard ridged shell portable swimming pool
Image from Amazon.com.au

These portable pools’ walls are often made of stronger material such as fiberglass or even steel and aluminium. Therefore, while stronger and more stable, they are more difficult to set up and pack away.

Like soft-sided pools, they range widely in terms of size and depth. Due to the more cumbersome nature of installation, users of rigid-sized pools often favour larger sizes that can facilitate a wider and longer-lasting range of activity–further highlighting the need for pool fencing.

The Rules For Fences Around Inflatable And Portable Pools

The question about whether you need inflatable or portable pool fencing is one we get asked a lot. And the answer is: yes!

By law, all swimming pools and spas, whether temporary or inflatable or not, that contain water more than 30 cm deep must have effective safety barriers that restrict access by young children. This fencing must comply with the following regulations:

  • Minimum height of 1.2 m.
  • Made of a durable and chemical/weather resistant material.
  • Must have an outward opening, self-closing and self-latching mechanism.
  • Gaps in the fence must be a maximum of 10 cm in size.
  • The fence must be 10 cm or less off of the ground.
  • A latch height of 1.5 m or a sufficient child-restraining design
  • Not subject to a “climbable zone” which extends 90 cm outside of the fence, i.e., be close to objects which could aid in climbing.

Regulations do vary for pools installed before and after May 2016, however, and temporary pools can be subject to that same regulation.

While pool fencing comes in a variety of different materials and designs, the most common include:

  1. Framed glass fencing
  2. Frameless glass fencing
  3. Aluminium metal fencing
  4. Steel fencing
  5. Mesh fencing
  6. PVC fencing
  7. Timber fencing

Metallic fencing is the most common and practical form of temporary fencing for use around pools.

A cute little toddler playing in a colourful inflatable pool

Fencing for Small, Portable Pools

For small, portable pools, you don’t need a fence if the water is less than 30 cm deep. Nevertheless, to keep your children safe, always ensure your child is supervised and empty out the water immediately after use.

It’s also recommended for health purposes and longevity reasons to store the packed-away pool somewhere safe and dry where water cannot collect in it.

Fencing Checklist

To assist you, make sure to use the following simplified checklist–which can be accessed in full here–to ensure your pool meets all of the requirements.

1. Does your safety barrier tick all the boxes?

  • Closes by itself from any open position.
  • Have a self-latching device.
  • Open away from the pool.
  • Have a latch release mechanism at least 1.5 metres above the ground.

2. Does your fence tick all the boxes?

  • Fixed securely in place.
  • Outside of the fence is at least 1.2 m high
  • Have vertical uprights 10 cm apart or less.
  • Less than 10 cm between the bottom and the ground.
  • At least 90 cm between handholds and footholds.
  • Have stable ground beneath it.
  • Share a section with a boundary fence at least 1.8 m high.

3. Does your pool area tick all the boxes?

  • Not subject to climbable objects.
  • Clear of items that could assist children reaching the latch.
  • Not subject to windows or doors, including pet doors, that provide direct access into the pool area.

For further information regarding temporary and portable pools in particular, visit the DMIRS website.

Temporary Pool Fencing: For permanent peace of mind

Temporary pool fencing offers an affordable, practical, safe and legally compliant solution for your inflatable or temporary pool. Of course, it’s not just the significantly lower price tag that makes temporary fencing for your pool so appealing: It’s also significantly less hassle!

Our pool fence hire services includes delivery and set up when you need it, as well as dismantling and packing up when you’re done with it.

Contact WA Temporary Fencing Supplies Today!

If you’ve got an inflatable or portable pool, ensuring you have the right fencing is not just a legal requirement but a vital safety measure.

Fortunately, our temporary pool fencing hire services provide low cost, no hassle solutions in record time. All of our solutions are legally compliant, convenient and affordable.

Want to find out more? Just give us a call today and we’ll provide you with a custom quote for temporary pool fencing to suit your needs.


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