It is no secret we love swimming in our rivers which is why each summer we collaborate on Swim Guide with 45 other Waterkeeper organizations.
Swim Guide is a worldwide network dedicated to giving you real time updates on beaches across North America and New Zealand. The app was built by our friends at Lake Ontario Waterkeeper who wanted to make getting in the water as simple and as safe as possible.
Ottawa Riverkeeper has added 332 beaches from around our watershed to Swim Guide. As of this year you can read about all of them in both official languages and discover whether they are safe for swimming.
This year alone we’ve expanded our coverage by adding 30 new beaches in Ontario and 50 in Quebec, adding the entire Montérégie region to Swim Guide, because we know people love to swim in Quebec!
If your favourite beach is tagged in red it means that bacteria levels are elevated and swimming is not advised.
Recreational water quality guidelines were developed to protect us from potential health risks, so understanding water quality where you swim is really important.
We’re excited that The Weather Network, Canada’s most popular weather and information services, has begun using Swim Guide on their beach reports.
Reaching a digital audience is great but meeting swimmers face to face is the best way for us to get the word out. That’s why our Swim Guide Coordinator and volunteers spent many summer days at beaches in Gatineau and Ottawa to talk to the community about Swim Guide and what we can do to improve water quality and protect our rights to swim in our river.
This summer Swim Guide reached over 500,000 individual users. That’s amazing. A half a million people have better access to water quality, which means they can avoid getting sick from swimming in contaminated waters.