Going swimming in Maryland this summer? Check your favorite beach’s water conditions online!

23 May 2024- With the summer swimming season about to kick off, the Maryland Department of the Environment is urging the public to use the Department’s online water quality tool before jumping into your favorite natural waters.

“Nothing is better than spending the day swimming in the Chesapeake Bay and our wonderful waterways with friends and family,” said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Serena McIlwain. “While swimming in natural waters is never risk free, routine monitoring for indicator bacteria will help ensure that a little sand in your shoes and lots of happy memories are the only things you take home with you​. We partner with local governments to ensure that beaches are safe for swimming, and we provide information on water conditions so everyone can know before they go.”

To check the water quality at your favorite beach using the state’s interactive mapping tool, go to mde.maryland.gov/beaches.

Beaches were open for swimming with no cautionary health advisories more than 98 percent of the time last summer, according to the latest progress report. This marked the 19th consecutive year that the rate was 96 percent or greater. The beaches at Ocean City have never been under a closure or an advisory since the current monitoring program began in 2000.

The beach monitoring program, which supports tourism and the recreation industry, is available each year from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. The website includes a map with color-coded status reports on beaches throughout the state, from the lakes of Western Maryland to the Atlantic surf at Ocean City.

Here are some helpful tips when swimming in natural waters:

  • Avoid swimming within 48 hours of a heavy rain event.
  • Try not to swallow the water.
  • Pick up waste left by your pets and dispose of it in the trash.
  • When boating, use an approved marina pump-out station for waste disposal.
  • Do not feed seagulls or other wildlife.
  • Avoid swimming if you feel ill or have open cuts or sores.
  • If water contact can’t be avoided, cover your open cut or sore with waterproof bandages.