, Swim Guide Editor
Posted: June 19, 2021 at 10:37 am

With over 8,000 beaches, keeping Swim Guide’s photos up-to-date is a monumental task. If you are interested in lending a hand, here is how you can help from the comfort of your own home.

The photo submission feature and the beach image database are part of Swim Guide’s international citizen-science effort to collect data on beaches around the world. Photos are incredibly important pieces of evidence. When Swim Guide users are at the beach they are in a unique position to take and share a photo, which contributes valuable data on recreational water use, pollution, and real-time conditions at beaches.

Swim Guide is all about connecting people with water—we believe that people will protect what they love. Therefore, in order to protect our waters, all we need to do is make people fall in love with them. To get people to the water, we need to show them how much fun they will have there.

The first step in getting people interested in visiting a beach is having a great beach photo to draw them in. When you go on Swim Guide, notice how big the beach photo is on a beach listing page… it is front and center! A great beach photo can inspire Swim Guide users to visit a beach and fall in love with their local waters.

How to submit a photo in two ways

Submitting a photo through the iOS and the Android app:

1. Click on a beach in the list or on the map in the app. Once on the beach page, click on the photo submission icon (the camera plus icon) and choose “Beach Photos”.

2. Click “Upload Beach Photos”

3. Click on “+ Photo” on the top right corner

4. Now select if you would like to take a photo now, or choose from your Library

5. In both cases, the photo should appear in the previous page with the name “Photo #1” next to it. If you would like to change the photo, delete it using the red bin icon.

6. Select “Back”, with the left pointing arrow on the top left corner.

7. Notice that now there are one (or more) photos attached to your submission.

8. Scroll down and let us know what you see in the “Tell us what you see:” section.

9. Make sure to include your name and email address so we can credit you when we use your photo.

10. Click “Send” on the top right corner and click “Submit” to send us your photos. You will see a confirmation message right after doing so.

Submitting a photo through the Swim Guide website:

1. Go to the beach page for which you would like to submit a photo for.

2. On the right hand side, select “Report Pollution”. Clicking on that will take you to a form where you can upload photographs. Even though this tool was initially created to track pollution, it’s a great way for you to send us your beach photos.

3. Click “Select Photos” and upload them from your computer. Make sure to include your name and email address so we can credit you when we use your photo.

4. Click on the red button at the bottom that says “Submit Pollution Report”.

A great beach photo has four elements:

1. The photo must show the water.

When we show the water we are setting expectations with our community. Is it a great place for catching waves? Or a pier that is nice to walk on? By showing the site, someone can learn a lot about what to bring, how to dress, and if the site is child appropriate.

2. The beach photo shows the shoreline.

If a photo shows only water and sky, it might lose its context. The image might look like a stock photo. Having the shoreline in the photo will help clue people in to where they are when visiting for the first time.

3. Recognizable landmarks should be visible.

Landmarks could be things such as a bridge, an iconic tree, a statue, or a lifeguard post. People appreciate something they can see from afar so they know that they are in the right place.

4. Whenever possible, include people in the photo.

Make sure you ask permission before taking photos of beachgoers, or ensure that the people are far away enough to not be recognizable or that they are facing away from the camera. Having people in the photo brings the picture to life. It not only makes people want to join the others, it also gives them an idea of the different activities they can do at that specific site.

Before submitting a photo, ask yourself: Does this photo make me want to visit this beach? If so, hit submit!

Reporting Pollution

If you see pollution, you can use the pollution reporting tool to submit a detailed report. Click here to submit a pollution report.


Olympic Beach, Kingston Ontario

Photo by Mark Faviell

Photo by Kathrin & Stefan Marks

Hospital Beach

What to avoid

Too far from the water

Photo by Maciek Lulko

Too close to the water

Photo by Sylvia Sky

Wrong focus
Make sure that the focus of your photo is always the water and the shoreline. Close ups of your friends at the beach are a great addition, but shouldn’t be the focus if you are only submitting one photo.

Photo by Samuel Apuna

Thank you for helping us keep Swim Guide up-to-date!

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.