When is it safe to swim?
If you are in the Sydney area, phone the Beachwatch information line (phone: 1800 036 677) or check the daily ocean and harbour beach bulletins for predictive advice.
Check the weather
If it has rained during the last few days, then there is a possibility that water may be polluted.
It is recommended that you avoid swimming during and at least one day after heavy rain at ocean beaches, and for three days at harbour swimming areas.
Weather reports are available in local newspapers, TV and radio news programs and through various websites such as the Bureau of Meteorology.
Look for tell-tale signs of pollution
Avoid swimming if there are signs of water pollution such as:
Fast flowing or strong smelling drains
Street litter such as drinking straws, food wrappers or leaves floating in the water or on the tide line.
Avoid swimming near stormwater drains or lagoon openings
Studies show that lagoons and drains can be sources of stormwater pollution and the pollution is greatest right next to the source, so it is best to avoid swimming next to drains and lagoon openings
Check pollution warning notices
Some councils issue warnings about beach conditions, including dangerous surf, stingers and beach pollution. Check between the flags for any pollution warning notices or ask one of the lifeguards.
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Page last updated: 15 February 2013