Its heating up and the summer months are upon us! As Alabamians go out and hit the beaches and rivers this summer for swimming, paddling, and fishing, it is important that water quality data is easily accessible and up-to-date. In addition to the Alabama Water Watch public data tools, an application called Swim Guide is another useful tool for determining if it is safe to swim.
Your data and observations can help let people know if it is safe to swim this summer! Learn how you can get involved by reading below.
What is Swim Guide?
Swim Guide is a fantastic online application that helps the public find nearby beaches and determine which ones are safe for swimming through the use of real-time bacteria data and pollution reports.
Swim Guide was created by Swim Drink Fish Canada and has many affiliate and associated organizations worldwide who collaborate with them to make the application accessible to people across the planet. There are swim beaches established in the US, Canada, Central America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and many other places.
Check out the Swim Guide Beach Finder to find examples of swim beaches near your area.
How can I post my site to Swim Guide?
Alabama Water Watch is an affiliate of Swim Guide, which allows certified AWW Volunteer Monitors to post their bacteria data collected from established AWW monitoring sites to the Swim Guide application for the public to view. AWW is able to manage beach sites as an affiliate, and can submit data on a monitor’s behalf to the application.
AWW Bacteriological Monitoring Volunteers who test at public swim beaches are encouraged to submit a Swim Guide Beach Site Request through the survey link below.
What is considered a public swim beach? Public swim beaches include swim areas accessible by the general public, for example – city, state and national parks, public campgrounds, and National Forest recreational areas.
What if I want to start monitoring a beach that isn’t an established AWW monitoring site?
Certified monitors can submit a Monitoring Site Form along with a completed Bacteriological Monitoring Data Form to the AWW Program Office. AWW will then establish an AWW Site Code for that site, and can enter that site into the Swim Guide.
Monitors can also contact Sydney at the AWW Office to set up a site and if they have any questions.
Guidelines for Submitting a Beach Site
If the beach is located at an existing AWW site with an established AWW site code, please note the site code in the beach description at the bottom of the form.
The beach name should be what the public refers to the beach as, for example, the swim beach at Chewacla State Park in Auburn is named “Chewacla State Park Swim Beach.” This will help the public easily identify the beach in the Swim Guide app.
Monitoring Frequency is how often you anticipate monitoring the beach site. Alabama Water Watch encourages monitors to sample monthly, however some monitor weekly or bi-weekly in the summer months. This is up to you!
Please be very detailed in your Beach Description. Here is a great example of a good description for Wind Creek State Park: https://www.theswimguide.org/beach/6538