In the latest move to help reduce the number of backyard drownings and near-drownings, NSW property-owners must register their pool or spa with the NSW Swimming Pool Register.

The Swimming Pools (Amendment) Act 2012 requires all homeowners to register their pools online. Spas are classified as pools by the Act. Existing pools should have been registered by 29 October 2013, and owners risk a fine of $220, or up to $2,200 if the matter is referred to court.

From 29 April 2015, the Act also requires pool owners to have a certificate of compliance from their local council before they can sell or lease their property.

Minister for Local Government Donald Page, who put forward the bill, said that every year 60 children are admitted to hospital following a near-drowning experience, "and in most of these cases (if not all) those drownings could have been prevented with well-maintained swimming pool fences, combined with vigilant adult supervision".

The government has created checklists to help pool and spa owners assess the safety of their pools and spas. You'll find these at the NSW Government's Swimming Pool Register website. You can also see what the Royal Life Saving Society has to say about the register.

For pool fencing and registration requirements in other states, see our pool fence buying guide.