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 Awareness of water quality is vital in BC's metropolitan areas, most of which have outdated sewage treatment facilities, and have point-source emissions and CSOs located near popular beaches.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.
- 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closures, swimming advisories, and coliform pollution— critical issues for public health in a metropolitan area with outdated sewage treatment facilities.
- 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
- 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