A bill has been approved by Parliament suggesting the regulation and supervision of swimming pools integrated in tourist resorts, local accommodation and also private swimming pools.
"More than a year ago, DECO alerted policymakers to the legislative gaps in this area and the need for a legal framework, which is very important as the number of cases of children drowning in pools is increasing," DECO pointed.
Currently, there is only specific legislation and regulations for sports pools and water parks, particularly with regard to licensing, construction techniques and supervision.
Regarding swimming pools in tourist resorts, the current law is not clear. In fact, there are only obligations regarding rescue and surveillance facilities, DECO said.
The bill that under this legislation was supposed to establish inspections of this type of aquatic spaces, as well as the regime of administrative offences involving this matter, were never published.
In relation to swimming pools installed in local accommodation, the legal regime of these tourist spaces does not provide for this, likewise to what happens in relation to private swimming pools. Despite the legislative gap, DECO warns that the same concerns are raised in relation to these pools, with the necessary adaptations.
Recognising these legal gaps, entities such as the Portuguese Institute for Quality, the Directorate-General for Health or the Portuguese Association of Swimming Pool Professionals have already issued several recommendations for the design and construction of swimming pools and for their safe operation. However, these procedures are not yet mandatory.
"It is with great concern that DECO sees this legal gap," they said, especially as this new law is only a recommendation. Although it meets DECO's concerns and demands regarding the protection of consumer health and safety, it is not mandatory.
Paula Martins is a fully qualified journalist, who finds writing a means of self-expression. She studied Journalism and Communication at University of Coimbra and recently Law in the Algarve. Press card: 8252