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New Swim Guide Reveals Water Quality At California Beaches

San Diego Coastkeeper launched a free app for iPhones and Androids on Wednesday called Swim Guide. The guide is also available online.

Aired 5/30/12 on KPBS News.

Beachgoers now have a fast and easy way to find out if the water at their favorite beach is safe to swim in.

The guide provides water quality data for all beaches in San Diego, 400 beaches in California and more than 1,300 beaches in North America.

Beachgoers pack Pacific Beach on a warm summer day.
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Above: Beachgoers pack Pacific Beach on a warm summer day.

Once the app is downloaded, it reveals an easy-to-read map with red, green and yellow dots.

Touch the dot on your beach of choice and it will reveal a simple explanation about the condition of the water.

Red means its unsafe or closed to swimmers, yellow is a warning and green means the water has tested clean.

If the ocean water is labeled unsafe, the guide will offer suggestions of a nearby clean beach.

Travis Pritchard is the water quality lab coordinator at San Diego Coastkeeper.

He said the guide is designed to help both beachgoers and local businesses.

“Since our beaches are a huge part of our economy in San Diego, having relevant up-to-date, immediate, easy-to-access information on the health of our beaches is critical,” Pritchard said.

Coastkeeper receives its data from the San Diego County Environmental Health Department, which tests San Diego beach water daily.

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