What is the Swim Guide?
The SWIM Guide is an app for iPone®, iPad®, iPod Touch® and Android that makes it easy to find, explore, and enjoy your local beaches!
The app was developed by the innovative people at Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and is now managed by Milwaukee Riverkeeper and other member groups of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a network of 280 water protection groups worldwide.
See the map below to find a beach below and click on a location to see if it’s open for swimming and recreation. You can also download a free app for your phone and find a beach wherever it is you travel!
About Wisconsin Beach Data
Recreational public beaches in Wisconsin are tested May through Labor Day. High priority beaches are sampled at least five times per week. They are flagged when a single sample exceeds 235 E. coli / 100 ml or when the geometric mean of samples collected over a 30-day period exceeds 126 E. coli / 100 ml. Medium priority beaches are sampled at least twice per week. Low priority beaches are sampled at least once per week. They are posted when a single sample exceeds 235 E. coli / 100 ml. All beaches will be closed if E. coli in a single sample exceeds 1,000 / 100 ml.
Frequently Asked Questions
Swim Guide is updated as soon as water quality is made available. Where water quality changes every day, we try to update the information before noon so you can make your plans for the day.
A beach is posted when it fails to meet certain water quality criteria. Beach “postings” are also known as beach “advisories”. The criteria include problems like E. coli levels, cloudiness of the water, recent heavy rainfall, and algae blooms. The criteria differ from province to province and state to state and are more protective in some places than in others. We use the same water quality criteria as the local authority. If we are concernedabout water quality, we always err on the side of caution.
Current status tells you whether a beach is open or posted right now. It is based on daily data entries. Historical status tells you whether a beach is usually open or posted, based on
historical information in our database. If a beach is not in season, or if it is not being sampled reliably, Swim Guide will display the Historical status instead of the Current status. You can also turn your Android on its side (make sure your screen lock is turned off!) or tap the status button and “Graph” on the iPhone® in order to view historical information for many beaches in our database. Brand new beaches may not yet have enough historical information.
Special status means we have manually set the status for a beach because we do not believe that the information in the database is reliable. This may be because sampling data is missing or because there have been changes at a beach.
Good question! The answer could be one of two things. It may be that no government agency is monitoring the water quality in your area, so we have no data with which to work. More likely, it is because Swim Guide is relatively new. We are in the process of
expanding and hope to bring Swim Guide to every place that needs it. You can help us get the work done faster by making a donation, becoming a sponsor, or doing the work for us.
Yes! If you do *not* have a 3G iPad or access to a wifi connection where you want to use the app, you should load all the information you need before you leave home. See “Can I use Swim Guide without an internet connection”. The Android version looks different. Swim Guide 2.0 was released in May 2012 for Apple devices. The newest version of Swim Guide for Android is loaded with new features and will be coming very soon.
Swim Guide will only work on your Apple product if you have Location Services turned on, and if you allow Swim Guide to access Location Services. This setting can be found in your general preferences. On your Android device, make sure your GPS is enabled.
Yes. If you do *not* have an internet connection where you want to use the app, you should load all the information you need before you leave home. Swim Guide will remember each screen you view while you are connected to the internet and you can revisit each of these screens while you are offline. View the Beach Map and make sure the beaches you are interested in load properly. Tap each beach you may want to look at while you are offline. You can bookmark them for easy access later. Swim Guide will save all of the screens that you view for offline viewing. If you try to load a screen for the first time without an internet connection, Swim Guide may have problems loading the information. Please be aware that the red/yellow/green beach ratings will not update unless you are connected to the internet. Always defer to beach advisories posted at the beaches.
Soon. We are working on a smartphone-optimized version of the website.
Email the images firstname.lastname@example.org, along with a declaration of some kind that confirms you have the rights to the image. If it’s better than our current photo, we’ll add your picture to Swim Guide and give you full credit.
Swim Guide was paid for with donations from individuals just like you, as well as a grant from the good folks at the RBC Blue Water Project. It takes a lot of work to add more watersheds to Swim Guide and to keep the data up-to-date, so please make a donation or become a sponsor to help keep the project going. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Yes! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get right back to you. We have a bunch of great sponsorship opportunities, ranging from local beach sponsorships to national and international collaborations.