, Swim Guide Editor
Posted: July 23, 2020 at 11:48 am

Photo by Eric Parker

People are often surprised to learn that Swim Guide is a service created and managed by a small team of people at Swim Drink Fish, a Canadian charity. The project started as a simple attempt to answer the question “Can I swim in Lake Ontario?”. Today, Swim Guide is a global network of people looking for beaches and water quality monitoring experts.

We work hard to make sure that Swim Guide offers you the best possible beach-finding and beach protection experience possible.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we’ve been working extra hard to help track which beaches are open and where there are physical distancing restrictions. The information changes daily – sometimes more than daily – but we’re proud that our efforts have helped to protect public health and connect people with water during a difficult time.

Everyone, including you, deserves to be healthy and to have access to clean water. We do what we do so that you can connect with water safely.

Donate to help us collect important water data

As a nonprofit, it’s not always easy to cover our monitoring, data analysis, and server costs. Read on for more information about how your donations will help people enjoy access to clean water for many, many years to come.

Photo Credit: Swim Drink Fish

5 reasons to support Swim Guide now:

1. Real humans curate all this information for you

Swim Guide includes water quality data for 8,000 beaches. We monitor hundreds of data sources every day to bring you reliable beach information, whenever you want it, wherever you go.

All that water quality data needs to be collected and translated into the easy-to-understand pass/fail results you see in Swim Guide. Staff at Swim Drink Fish manage 60% of the beaches in Swim Guide, and our affiliates manage the rest.

We also write all the beach descriptions and collect photos for the beaches to help you plan your day by the water.

In other words: if you see it in Swim Guide, someone lovingly curated it for you.


2. Swim Guide protects your health

When beaches and swimming holes don’t meet water quality guidelines, you are more likely to get sick after swimming. In the USA, about 3.5-million people get sick each year after swimming in contaminated water.

Water is tested for bacteria, which tells us whether sewage pollution is present. When a beach passes water quality tests, it’s marked green in Swim Guide. When a beach fails, it’s marked red. And when there is no reliable data available, it’s marked grey.

Photo Credit: Swim Drink Fish

When you choose a green beach over a red beach, you can avoid contracting waterborne illnesses. If you choose to swim where water quality is poor, you’re armed with the information you need to make an informed decision and protect your health as best you can.

Since we launched in 2001, we’ve probably helped prevent tens of thousands of illnesses and rashes just by ensuring people like you have access to accurate, reliable water quality data.


3. Swim Guide protects beaches

We believe that everyone has a right to access clean water. You need water to survive. You also rely on beaches, river valleys, and public spaces to connect you to nature. These places are part of your social life. They are where your fondest memories are often made.

When people see beaches threatened by water pollution, they usually want to know what’s causing the problem. Then they want to know how to fix it. Simply by helping people see where the water is becoming polluted, we help communities understand environmental problems and devise solutions that work.

In Toronto, for example, this philosophy helped to turn Bluffer’s Beach from one of the most polluted beaches in the city to one of the best.

Photo by Viv Lynch

Swim Guide, and its new Blue Flag initiative, also helps to recognize and reward beach communities with a commitment to water quality.

When you support our service, you aren’t just celebrating beaches.

By supporting us, you are helping to support the research, advocacy, and network activities that inspire lasting environmental protection.


4. The Swim Guide community is growing

You’re not the only person who wants to enjoy access to the water! The Swim Guide community is growing fast. With more than 5-million users and beach listings in 11 countries, you are part of a global network.

Swim Guide’s costs go up as the platform grows, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Everyone has a right to swimmable, drinkable, fishable water and we are thrilled to play our part in protecting access to clean water for everyone.

Photo Credit: Swim Drink Fish


5. Giving to charity promotes happiness

Giving to charity makes your brain happy. That’s what the neuroscientists say (and we always listen to scientists!).

When you give to charity, you release a shot of dopamine that feels the same as winning money or receiving a piece of cake.

When you give to charity, you also light up that part of your brain that makes you feel connected to the world around you. You’re not alone in this world. You’re part of a community of people who share your desire for a healthy, happy life. When you remember that, you feel better about yourself and the world around you.

Whether you can give $10 or $100, truly every dollar helps.

We want to keep the beach data flowing and the servers humming. We also have big dreams about how to improve Swim Guide, protect health better, restore more water, and connect more people with water around the world. You can help make it happen.

Thank you.

Click here to donate now


Swim Guide
is supported by
* The RBC Foundation

Swim Guide shares the best information we have at the moment you ask for it. Always obey signs at the beach or advisories from official government agencies. Stay alert and check for other swimming hazards such as dangerous currents and tides. Please report your pollution concerns so Affiliates can help keep other beach-goers safe.

Swim Guide, "Swim Drink Fish icons," and associated trademarks are owned by SWIM DRINK FISH CANADA.| See Legal.