New smartphone app helps beachgoers find closest, cleanest beaches
For millions of California beach goers, swimmers, and surfers, finding and enjoying that perfect stretch of sand and water has just become a whole lot easier with the launch of the Swim Guide, a new, free, smart phone app (available from App Store, Google Play, or www.theswimguide.org). The Swim Guide utilizes water quality monitoring data from government authorities to determine the water quality at over 300 beaches in California and is updated as frequently as the information is gathered. Orange County Coastkeeper provided the basic information for the region’s beaches and utilizes water quality data from the county’s Ocean Water Protection Program.
“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.
Provided, and managed, by member groups within the Waterkeeper Alliance, a network of 200 water protection groups worldwide, the Swim Guide helps the user locate the closest, cleanest beach, get directions, view photos, and determine if the water is safe for swimming. The Swim Guide also allows the user to share the whole adventure with your friends and family on your social networks. The guide also allows users to report pollution immediately to their local Waterkeeper.
“Here in Orange County, we are very fortunate to have such a beautiful coastline, but with the continued risks from urban runoff at beaches with discharge points, we want everyone to be aware of the best and safest areas to swim,” said Garry Brown, Executive Director of Orange County Coastkeeper.
The new Swim Guide app is just one way that Orange County Coastkeeper is helping local communities stay connected with their rivers, creeks, and beaches. Focused on preventing and reducing water pollution all over Orange County, Coastkeeper continues to partner with teams of community volunteers to monitor sources of pollution, restore habitats, and enforce the Clean Water Act in order to protect and preserve Orange 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.
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. Swim Guide will continue to expand until it covers beaches in every major beach community in North America.
- “New smartphone app locates the cleanest beach near you“, Pacific Swell Blog from 89.3 KPCC, 5/30/12
- “Countdown to Summer: The New Waterkeeper Swim Guide for Safe Swimming“, Huffington Post Green Blog, 5/30/12