With the launch of the Swim Guide, a new, free, smart phone app (available from App Store, Google Play, or www.theswimguide.org) beach goers are able to check the water quality status of their favorite beaches before even leaving the house. The Swim Guide utilizes water quality monitoring data from government authorities to inform users if it’s safe to swim at over 300 beaches in California.
“Every year, millions of people get sick from coming into contact with polluted water at their local beaches,” said Pete Nichols, Western Director for the Waterkeeper Alliance. “The Swim Guide provides a free, easy to use, way for beach goers to find a beach where their families can swim and enjoy the beach safely,” he continued.
The Swim Guide is provided and managed by member groups within the Waterkeeper Alliance, a network of 200 water protection groups worldwide. The app helps users get directions, view photos, learn what beaches are good for children and recreation, and share the whole adventure with friends and family on social networks. The guide also allows users to report pollution immediately to their local Waterkeeper.
Local Waterkeeper and Santa Monica Baykeeper Executive Director, Liz Crosson, remarked, “[f]ree and easy access to local water quality information is essential for Angelinos and tourists heading to our beaches this summer.” Crosson stated further, “[a] trip to the beach should never result in illness. The Swim Guide will provide beach goers with the up-to-date information that they need to locate and discover the closest and safest beaches along the L.A. County coastline.”
The new Swim Guide app is just one way that Santa Monica Baykeeper is helping local communities stay connected with their rivers, creeks, and beaches. Focused on preventing and reducing water pollution thoughout L.A. County, Baykeeper continues to partner with teams of community volunteers to monitor sources of pollution, restore habitats, and enforce environmental laws to protect and improve L.A. County waterways for generations to come.
The innovative app originates with a team from the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper chapter, which set out to determine if it was safe to swim in Lake Ontario. Seven years later, with input from more than 100 different beach monitoring sources covering over 1,300 beaches a day and more than 128,000 points of data, people can now check the status and cleanliness of their local beaches in real time.
The Swim Guide includes descriptions and photographs of nearly 1,300 beaches in California and across North America, including Miami, FL, Mobile AL, the Great Lakes, British Columbia and Alberta. Nearly 50 beaches in Los Angeles County are currently covered in the Swim Guide with popular surf and swimming spots like Surfrider Beach in Malibu and Venice Beach in Los Angeles. The Swim Guide will continue to expand until it covers beaches in every major beach community in North America.