Can You Wear Cover Ups in the Pool?

can you wear cover ups in the pool

Are you unhappy with how much skin your swimsuit is showing? Wouldn’t it be better if you could just… cover yourself up? That’s what swimsuit cover ups are for, after all, but they are intended to be worn on land. If you want to be covered underwater, you might be wondering if you can wear cover ups in the pool.

If you are at a public pool, then no, you cannot wear your cover up in the pool. Public pools have strict dress codes prohibiting non-swimwear from being worn, and even some swimwear like board shorts or loose-fitting rash guards may be prohibited. If you want to be covered up in the water, you need to get a swimsuit that provides more coverage, such as a tankini, swim dress, or one piece swimsuit with sleeves.

The main reason that non-swimwear attire like cover ups are banned is because they will soak up too much water which restricts your movement and makes it hard to stay afloat. Non-swimwear attire will also break down quickly when exposed to chlorine, and this can cause fibers to clog the filters, and the dye on the clothing to run off into the pool.

In this article, we will go over the reasons why you cannot wear cover ups in the water and what pool-friendly attire you should be wearing instead if you want to be covered up in the water.

Why cover ups are not allowed in the pool

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It’s not that cover ups specifically are not allowed in the pool, but that any regular clothing in general isn’t allowed. Even garments that are made of similar materials as swimsuits, such as workout clothing, are not allowed in the pool because they aren’t entirely the same. Let’s break down why these issues are so serious.

The biggest reason they aren’t allowed is because they increase the risk of drowning. Most clothes are made of very absorbent material such as cotton or polyester. Chances are good that a cover up is made of the same material. When soaked, it will not only weigh you down, but will restrict your arm and leg movements. The end result is a high risk of drowning.

Another factor is that the dyes in the clothing might bleed into the pool. Regular clothing isn’t designed to be worn in chlorinated water. Chlorine is a harsh chemical and it can cause the colors to run off, which causes your beautiful cover up to fade, but also decreases the pool water quality.

Chlorine can also break down the fibers of your cover up. Constant exposure to chlorine will cause the fibers to eventually deteriorate, and the particles can end up in the water. These particles or broken fibers will eventually reach the pool filters and clog it up quickly.

Lastly, if your desire to wear a cover up in the pool was to cover up your skin, unfortunately a cover up is not a good solution. When soaked, a cover up might become see-through. Along with all of the other reasons listed above, it’s no surprise that cover ups are banned from public pools.

Alternatives to wearing a cover up in the pool

If your desire is to be more covered up in the pool, then you should be covering up not with a cover up, but with swimsuits that are more modest. You are not limited to only wearing a bikini or a one piece swimsuit that looks like a sleeveless leotard. There are many styles to choose from, and here are some fantastic options you can go for.

Rash guard

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Not comfortable with how exposed you feel wearing a traditional sleeveless one piece swimsuit? Fear not, you can find swimwear with sleeves for even more skin coverage. These are also known as rash guards (a.k.a. rashies) and though they are often worn by surfers, you can wear them for any water activity.

Rash guards are typically two piece where the top half is the rash guard, and the bottom is up to you; could be a bikini bottom or swim shorts. You can even get a full body rash guard if you want total coverage which is ideal if you’re afraid of the sun.

If you want to be able to swim in them, you must get one that is skin tight. Rash guards are sometimes designed to have a loose fit which is fine for surfing, but a safety hazard for swimming. Depending on how strict the pool’s dress code is, rashies may even be prohibited because loose-fitting ones can be dangerous.

Swim dress

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A swim dress is reminiscent of a mini-dress, albeit one that you can safely wear into the water. It’s like a one piece swimsuit but with a skirt that covers more of your thighs. This offers an alternative for those who don’t like having their entire leg exposed.

Like a traditional bathing suit, swim dresses come in a variety of styles. You can get swim dresses with a variety of necklines, straps, prints, hemlines, and colors. So don’t think that covering yourself up is making you look less attractive; with all of these options to choose from, you’re bound to find something that looks flattering.

What’s awesome about swim dresses is that you can actually swim in them. Swim dresses come with shorts so you don’t have to fear the skirt rising. It’s also made with lightweight fabric so you won’t feel bogged down or bulky.

Another great advantage is that you don’t even have to change out of your swim dress since it appropriately covers up all of your intimate parts and even a portion of your legs. You can literally leave the pool and go run some errands and, assuming you’re not dripping wet, no one would be any wiser. In short, put on a swim dress to reap the benefits of a cover up and a swimsuit.


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If you prefer to wear two piece swimsuits but want something more modest than a bikini, not to worry, you can try wearing a tankini instead.

A tankini top is sort of like wearing a form-fitting tank top rather than a bra. Not to worry, a tankini top is also padded, but what makes it even better is the extra coverage it provides over your stomach. For the bottom, you can wear a regular bikini bottom, or you can wear swim shorts to cover up your legs.

What makes tankinis so awesome is that you can easily mix and match tops and bottoms. That way, you can have a more modest outfit without worrying about looking dull. For instance, with just three tops and bottoms, you can already make 8 unique pairings. In other words, you could literally have a new look everyday for over a week if you want.

A downside of some tankinis is that if they are not form-fitting enough, then they are prone to riding up.

Parting words

You cannot wear cover ups in the pool because it will quickly become waterlogged and become a safety risk. If the reason you wanted to wear a cover up in the pool is because you don’t like how revealing your swimsuit is, then know that there are more modest swimsuits out there. You just haven’t found the right one.

For instance, you could wear a tankini, rash guard, or swim dress. These provide more coverage than your usual one piece or two piece swimsuits. They can easily cover up more of your legs without restricting your ability to swim and stay afloat too much.

Plus, even if you wanted to wear a cover up in the pool, you’ll quickly be told to take it off because they are against the dress code. So look for one of the swimsuit types we mentioned which don’t run afoul of the dress code while still giving you the coverage you want.

Lastly, there is nothing wrong with wearing cover ups on land. We are not against wearing cover ups, and we think they are amazing. Just make sure you are using it as intended and don’t try to wear it in the water!

Last update on 2024-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API