If you're looking for the safest and cleanest beaches this summer, there's an app for that.
a clean water advocacy nonprofit in Berlin, has launched a free app that tells if beaches and waterways in Worcester County are safe and open to the public, based on official monitoring of bacteria count.
The Swim Guide App can be downloaded from the Coastkeeper’s website or from iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
Kathy Phillips, Assateague Coastkeeper, calls the Swim Guide app a one-stop shop for swimming, fishing and water sports in Ocean City, Assateague and surrounding areas.
Swim Guide information comes from Worcester County, which monitors the bacteria level at Ocean City beaches; the U.S. National Park Service, for Assateague Island’s beaches; and Assateague Coastkeepers, for Coastal Bay waterways like Horn Island, St. Martin’s River and Herring and Turville creeks where jet skiing, kayaking, standup paddling and other sports are popular.
Phillips updates the Swim Guide weekly, usually on Thursday night or Friday morning. It will remain operable through Labor Day Weekend.
Phillips expects the guide to be an annual summer program. She says the Assateague Coastkeepers is looking for funding to expand it next summer. “We’d like to put in the popular kayaking launch sites,” she says.
Assateague Coastal Trust runs Assateague Coastkeeper. The trust is a partner of Waterkeeper Alliance,
an international movement of 200 clean water advocacy groups, whose Lake Ontario group inaugurated the app program in 2007.
“There was an issue of pollution. The Lake Ontario group thought it would be a public service to have a single place people could go to find out if a beach was open or not, and also to raise awareness of Waterkeepers,” says Phillips.
The idea quickly spread to other groups around the Great Lakes, then to California and the Pacific Northwest. Phillips estimates that about 50 Waterkeepers-affiliated groups now have apps for their local waters.
The app has proven so popular that Assateague Coastal Trust, which is funded by private donations, decided to inaugurate one for Worcester County, its jurisdiction.
Source: Kathy Phillips, Assateague Coastkeeper
Writer: Barbara Pash