The industry's leading diving board manufacturer is taking steps to rekindle both consumer and industry interest in the boards. Fearing lawsuits, many builders, pool operators and service technicians have been reluctant to sell and/or install diving boards, or even work on pools that feature them.

S.R. Smith, LLC, the leading manufacturer in pool deck equipment, based in Canby, Ore., has developed a video and software package to help consumers properly measure their pools and ascertain whether they're suited for diving boards.

The instructional video shows exactly how to measure a pool. When the measurements are entered into the software program, it indicates if the pool is diving-board compatible. Both items will be free to consumers, service technicians and builders.

"We have been very conservative in the criteria for approval of a diving board," said Steve Aman, vice president of sales and marketing at S.R. Smith. "If [the software program] concludes that a diving board is not allowed, it will ask if they're interested in a slide."

Aman said he is hoping the program will entice service technicians and builders to consider diving boards for their customers again.

"When it comes right down to it, it's the consumer measuring it and putting in the numbers," he said. "We've taken the risk off the builder or the service tech. We are certifying the diving board through the software. It will tell them the setting of the jig – everything. It takes the guesswork out of it."

In addition, S.R. Smith has added what it calls its Peace of Mind program, wherein technicians who install boards on pools that used the software program will be covered by insurance up to $1 million should something go wrong. "We are really taking all the responsibility," he said.

Officials at National Spa & Pool Institute say they're thrilled to see manufacturers take such proactive steps. "We are very supportive of any manufacturer who will step up and fill a need," said Carvin DiGiovanni, NSPI's technical education director. "They're providing a much-needed tool for helping the homeowner. I think this is a terrific step in the right direction."

The software is currently completing its testing by an independent lab and Aman says it should be ready for distribution no later than April 1.

"We will be sending 1,000 [copies of the measuring video and software] to premium retailers and set up some service companies as well," he said. "It will be a limited release to them for the first year, but we'll open it to a larger group next year."

[This article is a reprint from Pool & Spa News, March 2002.]