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Swimming the World’s Water Paradises
March 18, 2016

This blog post is the first of a 3-part Swim, Drink, Fish series. The focus of this blog post is Swim.

There is nothing we crave more in the snowy, frigid winters in Canada than swimming in crisp blue water.

For those of you thinking of a spring getaway, we want to help you find some of our planet’s hidden gems. Read on for tips on what to do when you arrive and how to make sure you protect the water and its many inhabitants.

1. Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand

This lake is the third-largest in New Zealand and (Harry Potter fans take note) shaped like a lightning bolt.  It’s bordered on all sides by tall mountains, and the basin in which it sits was carved by a glacier. The lake boasts year-round trout fishing and the two islands in the centre, named Pig and Pigeon, are popular for camping.

Pig Island and Pigeon Island on Lake Wakatipu, NZ

Photo Credit: Loic Lagarde

Respecting The Beach

During the rainy season, Lake Wakatipu is at threat of flooding. Fire is the biggest threat to the Pig and Pigeon Islands, generally due to open fires from campers. If you’re staying on the island, practice fire safety. Remember also not to take vegetation or debris from the site and, of course, don’t feed the animals.


The Case For Clean Water
March 3, 2016

“Dwindling water supplies are a greater risk to businesses than oil running out, a report for investors has warned,” The Guardian, 2009.

“Companies that treat pressing water risks as a strategic challenge will be far better positioned in future,” Mindy Lubber, CERES’ president and Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute.

Water Management - Iowa State University

Why Businesses Need to Invest in Water Management and Protection.


It’s no secret that demonstrating a commitment to the environment is good for business.


Sunscreen That’s Good For You And The Corals, Too
February 19, 2016

You wear sunscreen when you go outside to protect your skin. You reapply after you take a dip in the ocean or lake because the sunscreen has washed off. Even underwater, you aren’t protected from the sun’s rays: up to 70% of UV intensity hits your skin when you’re swimming in waters where you can still see light. Thank goodness for sunscreen, right?

For you, yes. But that sunscreen that’s protecting your skin might actually be extremely harmful to the plants and animals you’re sharing the ocean with.

A 2015 study conducted in Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands, indicates that certain compounds in a number of popular brands of sunscreen – including products from Banana Boat, Coppertone, and Neutrogena – are leading to increased instances of coral bleaching among these important nursery habitats.

Coral Reef at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge


Welcoming Our Latest Affiliate: Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper
February 8, 2016

We are excited to welcome Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper to the Swim Guide!


Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper is promoting swimmable, drinkable, fishable water through a number of community-based initiatives that work to restore valuable fish and wildlife habitat, improve public access through greenways, and remove pollution from our watersheds. 

Not even 30 years ago, the future of the Buffalo River was anything but bright. But through the hard work and dedication of this Riverkeeper throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the health of the Buffalo River has improved dramatically – and we’re so proud to work with an affiliate like this.

Introducing The Watermark Project: Why Swim Guide Needs Your Water Stories
January 25, 2016


Only last week, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper launched the Watermark Project, a digital archive of water stories collected from people around the world sharing their most powerful water memory.

At first glance, the Watermark Project may seem wholly separate from Swim Guide: watermarks are stories of our watersheds, while the Swim Guide shares hard data.

But as someone deeply committed to protecting the water bodies around me, I know that these two projects are not only linked, they’re inseparable.

Watermarks are a record of our connection to a watershed. For each of us, Watermarks are the reason we care about water and what drives us to protect it.

Watermarks are our memories. Swim Guide is our tool.

We started Swim Guide because we believe that every person should be able to swim at any beach on any day of the summer and never have to worry about health risks. When water isn’t safe to touch, people withdraw from it. And when the connection between us and our water fades, so does our instinct to protect it.

When you share your Watermark, you’re strengthening your own connection to water, and sharing valuable stories for everyone that may visit that watershed in the future.

Maybe your Watermark is overwhelmingly positive: dipping your feet in the ocean for the first time and feeling the waves lap over your toes, or jumping off a dock into your favourite lake as a child.

But maybe it’s not a happy memory.

Maybe your first memory of water is driving down to the beach, only to be turned away because the water wasn’t safe. Maybe it was growing up in a community where the water couldn’t be drunk, let alone touched.

Whatever your story, whatever the memory, these stories not only strengthen Swim Guide, they are critical to its very success.

If we aren’t connected to water, we pull away from it. When we pull away from water, we are immune to its destruction. We stop spending time at the beach or on the ocean. The water is no longer our friend, but a distant acquaintance.

As users and promoters of the Swim Guide, it’s our duty to share our water stories. It’s our pledge to protect these water bodies. One of the best ways to do this is through narrative. By sharing your story, you deepen your connection to water – and encourage others to do the same.

Submit your story here.