- Discover a wide variety of beaches, ranging from city parks to remote lakes ideal for camping
- Identify at a glance which beaches are clean for swimming (Green) and which have water quality problems (Red)
- Get walking, driving, or transit directions to the beach of your choice
- Bookmark beaches for easy access
- Share your love for the best swimming holes on social media
- Help protect your waterway by reporting pollution or environmental concerns
Several of the Chesapeake Waterkeepers collect and test water samples and record their findings using Swim Guide. Before you head to your favorite beach or river, check out the water conditions. For a full list of affiliate groups please click here.
The Story Behind Swim Guide
Swim Guide began in Toronto, Canada. A team of staff and volunteers at Lake Ontario Waterkeeper set out to answer this simple question: Is it safe to swim in Lake Ontario?
That one question led them on a journey connecting Waterkeeper organizations across Canada and the USA, as well as other affiliates with a shared desire for swimmable waterways.
It should be easy to find clean water and a nice, accessible swimming hole. Unfortunately, reliable facts and figures about beach water quality were hard to come by. So they started compiling their own. For more than a decade, they tracked beach water quality trends, adding more beaches to the database every year.
The research led to the development of the Waterkeeper Swim Guide app for iPhone®, Android, or web. Created by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, this free app helps you find your closest beaches, know at a glance which ones are safe for swimming, and share your love of beaches with friends and family.
This last part—sharing a love of beaches—is really important to Waterkeepers. Since 2011, dozens of nonprofit and public organizations have started contributing information to Swim Guide. By the height of swimming season in 2013, Swim Guide included most official beaches in Canada and the USA. It draws on water quality information from government agencies or from Waterkeepers themselves so that you have access to up-to-date water quality as often as possible.
Waterkeepers are building Swim Guide for one reason: we want people to explore, enjoy, and fall in love with the beach so that our coastlines and swimming holes will be protected for generations to come.