The Florida Swimming Pool Association has developed a new certification program for public pool operators.

The 16-hour course covers the finer details of operating a pool under Florida’s strict standards – something the association felt existing educational programs lacked.

Developers were looking for a certification tailored to the state, said David Villandry, who chairs FSPA’s Public Swimming Pool Council. “The main feature of this course is that it’s actually Florida-specific,” he said. “We felt this would be better suited to our membership.”

Florida has a unique set of regulations that govern public pools.

It’s the only state in the nation that requires gravity drains on commercial pools. The state’s public pool rule, 64E-9, is exhaustively specific, detailing such things as the types of safety equipment that are acceptable. For example, only one-piece shepherd hooks are allowed, not the telescoping kind.

“We are stricter than any other state in the U.S. as far as water quality,” said Villandry, who is also the business development director for CES Water Quality in Jupiter.

Because of this, some instructors were including modules into the coursework to make the material more applicable to Florida’s code, but this also had its shortcomings. So, FSPA designed its own program.

The state-approved Florida Public Pool Specialist Certification will debut Feb. 10-11 at the Everything Under the Sun Expo in Orlando.

The certification will be valid for five years.