If you're wondering whether a local beach is safe for swimming this summer, there's an app that can provide the answer.
The Waterkeeper Alliance Swim Guide is available for free on iPhone, Android and other smartphones. You can use your location and it will provide a list of the closest beaches and their status. The status is marked with an icon of a man swimming.
A green swim icon means the beach has passed a test that measures the amount of bacteria in its water and has determined that the numbers are safe and the beach is open. Red means the beach is closed for swimming because it's unsafe. Gray means there is not enough monitoring data to make a determination about the beach. The beaches are periodically tested and their status changes as bacteria levels shift. The app also provides historical data on how often the beach has been open over past years.
The swim guide is the latest attempt to track swim conditions in a comprehensive way. Residents of several Anne Arundel County beaches have been monitoring their beaches' health for 39 years. For information on that effort, visit www.Severnriver.org.
To download the Swim Guide, visit www.theswimguide.org.