Farm Pond Security and Liability

Even if your pond is located entirely on private property with no visibility or advertising, you are responsible for any injuries or damage caused by the feature. Aside from preventing the pond from flooding a neighbor’s property, you’ll also need to keep children and adults alike from swimming in the pond without permission. A little extra security goes a long way in protecting yourself from a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

Building your pond away from any roads, paths, trails, and other publicly accessible paths can help with privacy. A pond that is visible from a public road is much more likely to attract swimmers or vandals than one that is hidden behind a treeline or over a ridge. If you can’t place a pond anywhere out of view, consider planting a screen of fast-growing trees and shrubs well away from the edge of the pond to eventually obscure the view of the pond.

Keeping the pond where you can see it from your home or other structures on the property is a different story. Visibility for the owners of the pond is essential since it’s the easiest way to spot someone accessing the pond illegally or someone calling for help. Ponds that aren’t kept within viewing distance of structures in constant use will need extra safety precautions due to the remote location.

Fencing is a good idea for all kinds of farm ponds. Not only will a sturdy chainlink or electrified fence discourage human visitors, but fencing also keeps both livestock and nuisance animals away. Even ponds used specifically for watering animals can degrade and collapse when heavy hooves are allowed to stamp the ground around the water’s edge. Fencing is the best way to limit livestock access to a specific area for limited damage to the pond and its liner.

If you don’t plan to fence in your pond, you can put up a few highly visible signs warning people not to use the water. State that the pond is private, for farm use only, and is not open for swimming or other access. This helps tremendously in most states by lowering your liability for injuries in court.

Farm ponds that are used for recreation deserve their own specific insurance policy. Farm and home insurance both tend to exclude ponds with any kind of recreational use, so an umbrella policy just for the pond provides peace of mind. Family members and friends you invite to take a dip have the same rights to a personal injury claim as any stranger that wanders onto your property, so insurance that covers their medical bills better protects all parties involved.

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