What policies are in place when using pools at the YMCA?

Our highest priority is providing the safest environment possible for all at the YMCA. Anytime our pools are open, they are staffed by trained lifeguards.

  • What policies or procedures do I need to be aware of when using the pools at the YMCA of Greater Brandywine?
    • To create the healthiest environment possible for everyone, please shower before entering the pool.
    • No glass of any kind is permitted in the pool area.
    • No diving in pool areas shallower than seven feet (Exception: Y Swim Instructor supervision during lessons).
    • No inflatable rafts or floatation devices.
    • All indoor pools close for a minimum of 30 minutes for lightning and/or thunder. Pools reopen 30 minutes after the final sound of thunder or sign of lightning. 
    • Children under 12 must have a parent/guardian (18 years or older) in the pool area with them at all times. Any youth ages 12-14 with a red or yellow band also must have a parent/guardian in the pool area. (See Test-Mark-Protect)
    • Children under 14 must complete a simple swim evaluation. (See Test-Mark-Protect)
  • Can children use the pools? What is the Test-Mark-Protect system?
    • Children are welcome to use our pools.
    • Children under 12 must have a parent or guardian (18 years or older) in the pool area with them at all times. 
    • Any youth ages 12-14 with a red or yellow band (see Test-Mark-Protect) must have a parent or guardian in the pool area.
    • Those under 14 years of age must complete a swim evaluation with one of our lifeguards before using the pool. A lifeguard on duty can perform swim tests as requested. In the event that a lifeguard is not available, members can ask to see the aquatics director on duty.
    • At the completion of the evaluation, the child/youth is issued a green, yellow or red wristband. They must wear this band at all times in the pool area, as it ensures our lifeguards can identify which areas of the pool they are able to be in safely.
    • Once a swim evaluation has been completed, the swimmer's age, birthdate and wristband color are logged in our system at the branch for easy issuance of swim bands for future visits. Anytime your child comes to the Y to swim, simply ask for a wristband at the member services desk.
    • The following chart explains the band colors and the protection/support required for each band color:
Test - Mark - Protect
Color & Level Ability Protect/Support
Red (Non-swimmer)
  • Cannot enter and exit pool independently
  • Has not passed yellow level swim test
  • Must stay in shallow end
  • Must wear life jacket unless parent/guardian is providing contact support - hands-on
  • Ages 0-5: must have parent/guardian in water
  • Ages six and older: may wear a life jacket with parent on side of pool
Yellow (Intermediate)
  • Can enter/exit pool independently, swim 15 yards freestyle, AND tread water for 30 seconds.
  • Must stay in shallow end
  • Ages 0-5: Must have parent/guardian in water
  • Ages 6-11: Must have a parent/guardian on side of pool supervising
  • Ages 12-14: Without a parent/guardian must remain in shallow end
Green (Proficient)
  • Can jump into deep water, tread water for 1 minute, float on back for 15 seconds, swim 25 yards, AND exit pool independently
  • Ages 0-5: Must have parent/guardian in the water if in deep end. Parent/guardian can be poolside at shallow depths
  • Ages 6+: may swim in any section of pool