Swim Where It’s Monitored (SWIM)
Swim Guide Sites
The Swim Guide app allows visitors to Alabama’s beaches and favorite swimming holes to know at a glance which areas are safe for swimming (Green) and which are unsafe (Red). The site is updated using the most up to date water quality testing results from Alabama’s state agencies and Mobile Baykeeper's own Swim Where It's Monitored program.
Mobile Baykeeper’s Swim Where It’s Monitored (SWIM) program
Mobile Baykeeper created the SWIM program in 2018 to provide our families, paddlers, and anglers with up-to-date water quality information at locations not currently tested by the state agency. SWIM is designed to provide concerned citizens, including civic groups, businesses, families, and local governments, an opportunity to sponsor water quality monitoring at the location most important to them. Test results allow sponsors and other community members to make informed decisions about whether it is safe to swim, fish, boat, or play near the tested location. Click below if you are interested in learning more about how to sponsor a site.
Sponsored Site Update:
Learn more about Swim results
What do the colors mean?
When we have current results, you'll see one of three symbols:
Green = Low Bacteria Levels. This means the beach's most recent test results met water quality standards.
Red = High Bacteria Levels. Recent test results indicate higher bacteria levels than what is recommended for swimming by the EPA.
Grey = No current data. Grey means water quality information for the beach is too old (more than 7 days old) to be considered current, or that info is unavailable, or unreliable.
When swimming season is over or when a beach's water quality data has not been updated within the last 7 days it goes into historical status. This means that rather than displaying current data it displays the beach's average water quality for that year.
Green = the site has passed water quality tests 95% of the time or more.
Yellow = Beach has passed water quality tests 60-95% of the time
Red = the site has failed water quality tests 40% or more of the time.
How does it work?
Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) & Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) collect water samples from 25 high-use swimming areas in Mobile and Baldwin Counties. Water samples are analyzed for the bacteria Enterococci, which often occurs in the presence of potential human pathogens (things that make you sick!). If testing shows high levels of bacteria, the site is re-tested the following day. When elevated bacteria levels remain, ADPH issues a public health advisory. Mobile Baykeeper posts all results to Swim Guide, giving easy-to-identify results in real time.
The safe level for swimming is determined by the EPA to be 104 colony forming units (CFU) of Enterococci (a bacteria that indicates fecal contamination)/100 mL of water. At this level, it is estimated that approximately 3% (32/1000) of healthy adult swimmers will contract a waterborne illness. These rates may be higher for children, pregnant women, the elderly, or those with weakened immune systems.
Bacteria levels can change quickly depending on tides, rain, and other factors. We recommend that individuals always take appropriate precautions when swimming. Those precautions include not exposing open wounds to the water and washing thoroughly after leaving the water. Bacteriological testing requires a 24-hour incubation period. Therefore, the reported water quality statuses are at least 24 hours old, and may not reflect current water quality conditions at these sites. If rain has occurred in the last 24 hours it is likely bacteria levels have increased and sometimes drastically.
Download The App
What If I don't have a Smart Phone?
Subscribe To Our Mailing List
No problem! For those without a “smart phone” to download the app, the information is also accessible by visiting the Swim Guide website at www.theSwimGuide.org or via the Mobile Baykeeper Swim Guide Alerts email list. To subscribe to our mailing list, please fill out the information to the right and select the Swim Guide Alerts box. After signing up, you will receive an email with results every time they are updated!
Special Thanks to both Legacy Partners in Environmental Education and Daniel Foundation of Alabama for funding Mobile Baykeeper's work on Swim Guide and supporting our work for clean water, clean air, and healthy communities.
More important information:
**These tests do not indicate the presence of Vibrio vulnificus, a flesh-eating bacteria that naturally occurs in warm, brackish waters. Our "safe" level refers to the level of Enterococci, a bacteria that indicates fecal contamination. Please be advised that other threats may exist and avoid entering the water with open wounds.
The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. All sites monitored are natural waterbodies and contaminants are present from a wide variety of sources! Local conditions fluctuate, sometimes dramatically, and especially after rainfall events. The results displayed above are only representative of the exact time, date and location at which the sample was taken and do not represent the water quality between sampling events or at other locations nearby on the river. Users of this data should not assume that a “low” Enterococci level means that it is necessarily safe or risk-free to make contact with the water. Enterococci is not the only contaminant of concern for recreational users, and is used merely as an indicator of potential fecal contamination. Mobile Baykeeper, Inc., their employees, and agents can provide no guarantee of water safety and, as such, the user assumes all risks associated with the use of this data and swimming in the associated areas. SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Questions? Contact Program Coordinator Laura Stone at email@example.com to learn more about this program.