Seattle, Washington Sep 12, 2012

New SWIM Guide App Available, a smart phone and web application that makes it easy for Northwest-area residents to find a safe beach for swimming and other recreation.

Puget Soundkeeper Alliance (Soundkeeper) has released an interactive Puget Sound SWIM Guide, a smart phone and web application that makes it easy for Northwest-area residents to find a safe beach for swimming and other recreation.

The Puget Sound SWIM Guide application is managed locally by staff at Soundkeeper. The “app” is now available with local data across much of North America through member groups of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a network of 200 water protection groups worldwide.

The innovative application was originally developed by the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper to communicate beach safety data in the Great Lakes Region.

How does the SWIM Guide Work?
The Swim Guide utilizes water quality monitoring data from government authorities to determine the quality of water at a growing number of beaches throughout Puget Sound, British Columbia and across North America. Green marks indicate where the water quality is acceptable, red marks show where it is unsafe. The Swim Guide is updated as the public data is gathered and posted. The guide also provides descriptions of public beaches enabling users to get directions, view photos and even report pollution immediately to Soundkeeper’s pollution monitoring program.

Why introduce a SWIM Guide?
By introducing the Swim Guide, Soundkeeper is aiming not only to protect beachgoers from getting sick, but also seeks to raise public awareness about pollution threatening our rights to safe swimmable and fishable waters.

“People of our region use Puget Sound’s marine waters for swimming, fishing, scuba, paddle and kite boarding and other recreation – even kids playing on a beach,” said Chris Wilke, the Puget Soundkeeper at Puget Soundkeeper Alliance. “This tool offers a fun, informative way to learn about public beaches and water quality issues in the area.”

“With the new guide, Soundkeeper wants people to know that after heavy rains, sewage overflow events, or as a result of animal waste, sometimes our water quality is compromised and not safe to swim in,” said Wilke. “The SWIM Guide informs beachgoers about potential warnings and provides statistical data of how often specific beaches are closed so they can make educated decisions about where to swim and recreate with their families”.

How can I get the SWIM Guide?
The Swim Guide is a FREE downloadable app for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android (2.1 or higher) and can also be viewed and downloaded on the SWIM Guide website by clicking here.

How can I support the SWIM Guide?
The SWIM Guide is supported by donations from people like YOU! Make a donation to the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance today and help keep the SWIM Guide alive by clicking here. Support the Swim Guide development directly by clicking here.

Related Activities:
The SWIM Guide app is being released in advance of Waterkeeper Alliance’s nation-wide Rally for Clean Water celebration scheduled for September 13-15th, with events in Washington D.C. in celebration of the Clean Water Act’s 40th Anniversary. Also on September 15th, Soundkeeper volunteers will participate in the International Coastal Cleanup to remove trash and marine debris from six Seattle-area urban shorelines and contribute to a global effort to study and solve the growing marine debris problem. Public cleanups are planned for Seattle’s Alki Beach (9/15 10am) and Myrtle Edwards/Centennial Parks (9/15 9am).