Beach and Lake Water Safety Rules

Beach and Lake Water Safety Rules

1. Authority of Water Safety Personnel

Lifeguards on duty have complete authority over the beach and demarcated swimming area for which they are responsible.  They may limit or deny use of these areas, or eject any unauthorized person or persons, or those violating Lake and beach rules.  They also may act to protect the safety and welfare of those who are using the beach and swimming area in any way that is appropriate to that responsibility, but they are not responsible for any activity outside that specifically demarcated area unless such activity could reasonably be expected to threaten the welfare or safety of those using the beach and swimming area for which they are specifically responsible.

The duly authorized Water Safety Supervisor, or the person acting in place of the Water Safety Supervisor in the event of his or her absence,  shall have complete authority to enforce Lake rules and regulations anywhere such enforcement is appropriate, including on the water, shoreline, boat ramps and other areas directly pertinent to Lake activity.  Such enforcement shall include the right to eject unauthorized persons or those violating beach rules and to request assistance from County law enforcement officials.  LBA may take legal action against trespassers, persons destroying or defacing LBA property, and persons engaged in unlawful activities on the Lake, beaches and/or other  LBA properties.

2. Beach Operations and General Swimming Safety Rules

Lifeguards are provided at all five (5) swimming beaches from late May through Labor Day depending on the weather and available staffing.  Check with the LBA office and LBA Newsletter for actual starting days or time changes.  LBA beach tags are required for beach use.

Beach season (between the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day) Lifeguard hours daily are:

  • Beaches 1 and 5:  11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Beach 2:  10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Beaches 3 and 4:  10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

(Lifeguard hours will be limited when Fairfax County Public Schools are in session.)

“Beach Closed, No Swimming, No Wading” signs are posted at the beaches when lifeguards are not on duty.  This may include during or immediately following inclement weather and when adequate lifeguard staff is unavailable.

A color coded flag system is utilized at the beaches to suggest observed water conditions.

  • Green – conditions normal; safe operations.
  • Orange – use caution; water may contain sporadic debris and/or contain potentially higher bacteria counts due to excessive run off.  Often displayed 24-48 hours after a heavy storm. 
  • Red – water conditions are unsafe for swimming activities; swimming areas and access to the lake from the beach are closed.  May be displayed during possible electrical storms for a period of 30 minutes after each audible thunder and/or visible lightning bolt.

Children under age 10 may not use the beaches unless accompanied by a resident adult or another child age 12 or older who has beach privileges.

Swimming lessons and other water safety instruction may be given by LBA instructors and/or qualified off duty lifeguards.  Residents are encouraged to take advantage of this inexpensive service to help assure the safety of their children, and development of water skills.

  • Diving is not permitted in the demarcated swimming areas.
  • Property owners/residents who have lake and beach privileges may host not more than eight (8) non-resident guests (four (4) per adult resident) at beach and swimming areas at one time.  Gatherings of more than eight (8) non-resident guests must comply with the Beach Gathering Rules.
  • Loud or boisterous conduct, or conduct which is objectionable or hazardous to property owners or other users of the lake and beaches, is forbidden and may subject offenders to prosecution.
  • Boating and fishing are not permitted in the swimming area.
  • Swimming and the use of the beaches is at the swimmer’s risk when lifeguards are not present.
  • There are dangers inherent in swimming outside of demarcated and guarded beach swimming areas, as well as the high probability of litigation in the event of accidental injury or drowning.  Moreover, swimming at dusk and at night is a high-risk activity.  LBA ASSUMES NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR PERSONS SWIMMING OUTSIDE GUARDED DEMARCATED AREAS OR OTHERWISE UNSUPERVISED BY LBA LIFEGUARDS.
  • Rafts, floats or boats, may not be permanently anchored in the lake.
  • Except for service dogs, pets are not permitted on the sandy areas of the beaches at any time between the Friday before Memorial Day and Labor Day, and lifeguards or other persons authorized by LBA, including Fairfax County Animal Control officers, are authorized to expel persons who violate this rule.  County officials are authorized to take custody of any animal found roaming LBA common properties, including the beaches.
  • Feeding of wildlife on the lake or in the vicinity of the beaches is not permitted.
  • Trash and refuse must be deposited in the containers provided for that purpose.  The beaches and adjacent areas are to be left clean by those who use them.
  • Alcoholic beverages and camping are prohibited on the beaches and adjacent areas, and all other common properties, including parking lots unless authorized in connection with an approved gathering at Beach Five.  Picnicking and cooking are permitted only on the grassy area adjacent to the beaches.
  • Swimmers outside the demarcated areas are advised to wear a bright cap, tow a visible float and/or use other visable or audible signals to alert boaters.
  • Swimming from or around docks, bulkheads and other non beach LBA common property is PROHIBITED.
  • The lifeguards may close the beach for swimming for up to 48 hours after heavy rainfalls due to possible elevated levels of bacteria and/or heavy debris.
  • Smoking on the sandy areas of the beaches is prohibited.
  • Glass articles (other than eyeglasses or sunglasses) on beaches and other common property are prohibited.
  • Ice skating is a highly dangerous activity and all skaters on Lake Barcroft do so AT THEIR OWN RISK.  LBA ASSUMES NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR PERSONS ON OR AROUND THE FROZEN WATERS OF THE LAKE. 

3. Inherent Risks and Dangers of Recreational Waters

There are other inherent risks and dangers attached to any activity in or near a body of water.  Lake Barcroft is no exception.  The following list constitutes some of the risks and dangers for which the LBA assumes no responsibility and, therefore, cannot be held liable.  The Association maintains certain areas to which qualified lifeguards are assigned during limited times only.  Some or all of the following life threatening situations can occur even in the presence of lifeguards.  A partial list of inherent risks and dangers includes:

  • Submersion due to inadequate swimming ability. 
  • Heart attack, stroke or severe muscle cramps while in or near water.
  • Submersion due to a head injury resulting from collision with a boat, capsizing or falling overboard. 
  • Submersion through thin ice.
  • Lightning strikes which make open water and beaches more dangerous.
  • Changing weather conditions. 
  • Infants and young children left unattended on any lake shore, including the beaches, whether guarded or unguarded. 
  • Diving from watercraft or docks without first checking water depth.
  • Irresponsible or incompetent operation of watercraft by adults and by children too young to handle this responsibility.
  • Swimming or operating watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Changing bottom conditions and depth.
  • Entanglement in submerged rocks, aquatic vegetation, structures or debris.
  • Bites, stings, rashes or other skin irritations from wildlife.
Revised April 2012