Commercial Pool Shepherds Hook: Everything You Need To Know


Andrew Vaughan

Lauren Broom - Space Coast Pool School

What you’ll learn about Commercial Pool Shepherds Hooks

  • How to make sure your shepherd’s hook passes a health department inspection
  • How to use a shepherds hook
  • How long your shepherds hook should be per code
  • How many shepherds hooks you will need for your pool area

Questions To Ask Yourself

  • Do we inspect our shepherd’s hooks and other rescue equipment on a weekly or monthly basis?
  • Do we have the right number of shepherds hooks for the size of our pool?
  • Will our shepherd’s hooks pass a health department inspection?
  • Am I training our staff on how to use a shepherds hook in the event of an emergency?

What Is A Pool Shepherds Hook?

Whether you call it a shepherds hook/crook, reaching or extension pole, it pretty much serves the same purpose in aiding a drowning victim by a bystander or trained rescue professional.

Its made up of 2 parts.

A hook that must be securely bolted to a pole.

It is used as a reaching pole or to encircle a conscious or unconscious victim in the water.

pool shephers hook

“Because a shepherds hook does not require a vast amount of training to save a life, it is a required piece of rescue equipment at a public commercial pool.”

pool shepherds hook

How Do You Use A Pool Shepherds Hook?

According to the American Red Cross, you would use a pool shepherds hook to perform a reaching assist.

This is a method of helping someone out of the water by reaching out to that person with your hand, leg or object.

“Reach or throw dont go”

How Long Should A Pool Shepherds Hook Be?

A shepherds hook shall be securely attached to a one-piece 16-foot long pole and placed conspicuously on the pool deck.

Can I Use A 2 Part Extendable Pole?

No, a two part or extendable pole may bend or break when a weight of a person is carried

Check your state codes here

How To Make Sure Your Pool Shepherd’s Hook Passes A Health Dept Inspection

  1. Life hook shall be conspicuous on the pool deck. Trim back any plants that may grow over it and hide the hook.
  2. Life hook shall be on a 16-foot long non-retractable pole.
  3. Check those bolts and wing nuts to make sure that they are both there.
  4. Check those bolts and wing nuts to make sure they are not rusted and will break
  5. Make sure that the bolts and wing nuts are not located on the inside part of the hook because it could hook on the person
  6. If the pool is under 50 feet in length then only need one life hook. If the pool is over 50 feet in length then shall have 2 life hooks located on opposite sides of the pool.
Commercial Pool shepherds hook

How Many Shepherds Hooks Do I Need For My Commercial Pool?

Public commercial pools under 50 feet in length are only required to have one life hook.

Public commercial pools over 50 feet in length are required to have 2 life hooks that are stored on the opposite side of the pool.

Drowning Map 2019 By Location



  • Depending on the size of the pool you will need at least one shepherd’s hook
  • The shepherds hook must be attached to a single section solid pole at least 16 feet long securely attached with 2 wing nuts
  • You need to inspect consistently and regularly to make sure your pool safety equipment.