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Lighting Requirements for South Carolina Swimming Pools

Posted by: Cooper MechanicalWednesday, July 05, 2017

Hotel pool at night with required underwater lighting

Pools Rule in South Carolina

It's been a scorcher of a week in Myrtle Beach, and Grand Strand hotels and rentals are packed with visitors. In 2016 our area had nearly 18 million visitors, a record high. While some predict less tourists this year due to recent violent incidents in the city, there is evidence that bookings in nearby Surfside Beach is increasing.

Given the extreme heat of our region, providing access to a recreational swimming pool is practically a necessity. Not only do hotels market their pools to help convert potential guests, but housing developments and local builders use neighborhood and community pools as desirable community amenities. From public swimming pools to indoor and outdoor waterparks, South Carolina requires you meet basic visibility and lighting standards

Pool Lighting for Safety

It is a South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control (DHEC) requirement that public pools open for dusk or night swimming have proper lighting. According to the document on pool regulations (Regulation 61-51), "Artificial lighting must be provided at all public swimming pools which are to be used at night or which do not have adequate natural lighting so that all portions of the pool, including the bottom, may be readily seen without glare."

This requirement is a safety feature. High visibility is important should a swimming hazard be present or recreational accident occur. The illumination requirement extends to both underwater and area lighting.

Underwater Lighting Requirements

SCDHEC provides some guidelines for the types of lighting to be used underwater. 

1. No less than 0.5 watts of incandescent or 8.35 lumens must be provided per square foot of pool.

2. Underwater lights must be positioned so all portions of the pool are clearly visible, including the bottom.

3. Fiber-optic lighting may be installed as a supplement to the lighting requirements above.

5. Colored lighting that does not meet the wattage or lumens minimum above cannot be used.

Area Lighting Requirements

Equally as important as underwater lighting is providing sufficient light to the area around the pool. There are many options in terms of lighting types and design, but again, SCDHEC has some basic guidelines for area lighting, including:

1. Uniform lighting for the deck area with at least 10 foot candles of intensity or not less than 0.6 watts of incandescence (or 10 lumens) per square foot.

2. Light fixtures within the pool area must be protected by a non-breakable lens.

Regulation 61-51 continues to provide rules for wiring, a topic best explored in another post.

Call Cooper for Lighting and Electrical Expertise

Cooper Mechanical Services has been working with hotels, condos, homeownership associations, and rental properties in the Myrtle Beach area for nearly 30 years. Our professional lighting and electrical team is well-equipped to make sure your swimming pool lighting is both attractive and up-to-code. Whether you are looking for replacement lighting, upgrades, or installing for the first time, we are ready to make your pool shine day and night.