Swim Guide

Swim Guide

Swim Guide is a free app for Smartphones and website that informs British Columbians about the water quality of their recreational beaches. In British Columbia, Swim Guide is run by the Fraser Riverkeeper. 




Why Swim Guide?

Canadians have strong emotional bonds to their favourite swimming holes, but are largely unaware of the threats to these waters from industrial point-source pollution, municipal sewage discharges that are largely untreated, and CSOs (Combined Sewage Outfalls) that dump stormwater mixed with raw sewage. Awareness of water quality is vital in BC's metropolitan areas, most of which have outdated sewage treatment facilities, and have point-source emissions and CSOs located near popular beaches. Swim Guide's digital platform enables the public to make informed recreational choices and to advocate for both better water monitoring and pollution control at their lakes, rivers & beaches.

What is Swim Guide?

Swim Guide is a free, easy-to-use website and app for iPhone®, iPad® and Android provided free to all citizens. It allows users to gain access to important updates on beach closures, swim advisories, pollution, and locate and enjoy beaches in their area. 

Fraser Riverkeeper was among the first Waterkeeper organizations to launch the Swim Guide mobile app in 2011.  Swim Guide was started by the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, and now has dozens of Waterkeeper partners internationally to monitor and report on over 7000 beaches.

Swim Guide was created to serve all those who use our water bodies for recreation—swimmers, surfers, families with children, and paddle-sport enthusiasts— while catalyzing awareness and change on water quality and habitat conservation issues. 

On the surface, Swim Guide is a beach-location and information platform that at allows users to learn about, locate and enjoy beaches in their area. But it also accomplishes three other objectives.

  1. Users gain access to important and regular updates on beach closures, swimming advisories, and coliform pollution— critical issues for public health in a metropolitan area with outdated sewage treatment facilities.
  2. Enabling a form of “open source” water-quality monitoring whereby the public can notify Swim Guide via the smart-phone app or website of any pollution or water quality concerns at BC’s lakes, rivers, and beaches 
  3. Swim Guide keeps Health Authorities on their toes, as they now have thousands of eyes on the data — or lack thereof—they provide for BC’s beaches 

Swim Guide in the news: 

'No Swimming' Advisories Issued for Three West Vancouver Beaches ... Is Your Beach Safe? - The Narwhal

Swim Guide leads beach-goers to most popular - and cleanest - spots - CBC

Raw sewage dumped in Metro Vancouver waters saw five-year high in 2017 - The Star

Watermark Project

Watermark Project

The Watermark Project is a community effort to collect and archive true stories about the ways Canadians interact with water. Started by our friends at Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and the National Water Centre in 2015, the Watermark Project aims to collect one story from every Canadian household, bringing together millions of water stories from across the nation.


What is a Watermark?

A Watermark is a true story about you and a body of water. Whatever your story may be, your Watermark connects you to a shared water heritage.

A Watermark describes a memory of time spent near water or the way a body of water has shaped your life. Whether spoken, written, filmed, or illustrated, every Watermark has the same four characteristics:

  • A person
  • A waterbody
  • A specific time (date, era)
  • A description or narrative explaining that the waterbody affected that person during that moment or time of life

Why Watermark?

Studies show that Canadians value water and nature more than any other country; yet, we rank lowest in the developed world for environmental protection. With the severe erosion of regulations safeguarding fish and water over the past decade, now more than ever, Canadians need to rediscover their deep personal connections to the water bodies that have touched their lives.

When you share your Watermark, you are:

  • Registering your waterbody in a national database of important waters
  • Documenting the value of that waterbody to you and your community
  • Helping researchers identify waters where people swim, drink, or fish, so that those users can be protected in the future
  • Providing evidence that ensures environmental laws can be used to safeguard your waters


We want to hear your water stories!

Please take a moment to reflect on your most powerful experiences with water and share them with us.

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