People can get to their local swimming pool from almost any place in the world by walking or driving.
But not all are safe.
The world’s biggest public swimming pools are some of the most dangerous, with hundreds of people dying every year from drowning.
That’s the result of a combination of bad management and poor management practices, according to a new report from the International Swimming Federation (ISF).
Swimming pools have a complicated history.
Some were built to help people with disabilities, while others were built for people with little or no mobility.
Today, there are more than 1,500 pools across the world.
But they’ve become increasingly unsafe over the years, with many swimming pools now failing safety tests and leaving pools that have no proper safety equipment at all.
“We’re seeing a lot of pools that are no longer functioning as swimming pools.
There are no barriers on the ground,” says Stephen Tashnick, a former IOC president and author of the new report.
“So when they open, they’re very small.
They’re not designed for swimming.
And it’s not very safe.”
In some places, such as the United States, a swimming pool’s size is not necessarily an indicator of safety.
“The average swimming pool is a lot smaller than the average home swimming pool,” says Tashneck.
“A lot of swimming pools have no barriers, no doors, no fences, no bars.
So in some places it’s a lot more common to see people swimming in small pools than in bigger pools.”
Swimming is a popular pastime in some parts of the world, but it can also be dangerous, according the report.
The International Swimmer Federation’s Safety Assessment of Swimming Facilities for Youth report found that around 80% of swimming pool safety tests are done with only a handhold.
Some pools don’t even have handholds for swimming, such that you can’t hold the pool’s walls in place.
Swimming in small ponds has been a big problem in the US, where it has been linked to a rash of drowning deaths.
In some places around the world there is a high risk of drowning due to swimming pools that lack proper safety infrastructure.
In the United Kingdom, for example, swimming pools with no bars or barriers were found to have a fatal rate of 1.7 deaths per 100,000 pool-goers in 2015.
“It’s not a great situation,” says Robert Tressell, a professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
“But it’s still better than the worst cases where there’s no barrier, no handhold, no barrier,” he says.
But there are also signs that swimming pools may be improving.
In a 2015 study, the International Swim Association (ISA) and International Swimmers Federation (ISSF) found that swimming in pool pools was safer than walking in them.
But that didn’t mean that swimming was safer in the United Arab Emirates, where there was no physical barrier and there was little safety equipment, or the Maldives, where swimming pools had barriers and handhold walls.
Tresland says that the ISA’s and ISSF’s research showed that there were many factors at play in the decision to build swimming pools, including the size of the pool, the amount of swimming required, the location and the time of year.
“You can’t get all of those factors right in every case,” he tells The Local.
“What we have found is that pool safety measures in countries where swimming is a big part of the culture are working very well.”
Tressell says that despite the good safety record, people still often don’t take the time to go to their pools to get into the water.
“If they see a pool with barriers and no handholding, they don’t bother.
If they see pools with a handheld pool, they go,” he adds.
“They get a little scared.
It’s very easy to get complacent.
They don’t want to take the risks.
But we have to be aware of this problem and do something about it.”
For now, the ISF says that people should avoid swimming in swimming pools unless they have a specific medical reason for doing so.
“You should avoid all swimming pools if you have a medical condition such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, cancer or asthma,” says Michael Stacey, the president of the ISB.
“And if you’re in an area with poor infrastructure and people are using unsafe practices, it may be worth checking if there are any facilities that could help you,” he continues.
Stacey says that it’s also important to remember that swimming is an important part of being a good swimmers.
“As an athlete, you can do anything you want to do,” he told The Local last year.
“Just keep swimming.”