Scroll before you swim.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a mobile-friendly website, beaches.ie, that lets people check the bathing water, tide times and other essential information about their prospective bathing site.

Sites include beaches as well as lakes all around the island of Ireland.

The information will be live and therefore reflects the status at the beach or lakeside on the day that users check.

People can access information relating to water quality, swimming restrictions, the weather and what time the tide is due in at.

Furthermore, the website provides information on nearby amenities at the bathing spots, such as accessibility, picnic areas and hygiene facilities.

In relation to the maintenance of the country’s beaches and lakeside areas, the site links up to the See It, Say It app.

This is the mobile app that allows people to report environmental incidents.

The information on beaches.ie is based on local authority monitoring of water quality, Met Éireann weather forecasts and the Marine Institute’s tidal information.

Andy Fanning from the EPA said it is imperative that local authorities keep people up-to-date on any pollution.

“With schools closing and the summer in full swing, beaches.ie will provide people with the information they need when choosing which beach or inland bathing water site to visit during the long and hopefully warm summer,” he said.

“It is important that local authorities inform the general public when pollution occurs or is predicted at our beaches so that we can all make an informed choice as to where and when to swim.”

EPA senior scientist Peter Webster advised people to make the most of the “excellent” natural resources on our doorstep.

“Almost three quarters of our beaches are classified as ‘excellent’ by EU standards so we really should make use of these great natural resources,” he said

“We would urge anyone heading to the coast or to inland bathing sites to check out the water quality at the beaches.ie website and sign up to our dedicated Twitter account, @EPABeaches, to receive alerts and updates.”

The EPA also issued advice for people planning holidays in Ireland this summer.

Swimmers are urged never to swim where a flag says not to or where there is a red flag flying.

A red flag indicates a water safety risk such as dangerous undercurrents.

The agency also warned people about swimming after very heavy rainfall as the water quality can deteriorate very quickly, especially in bathing spots close to urban areas.

The red flag can also be flown where pollution is likely or where there is an increased risk of illness if you go into the water.

In terms of littering and pollution, the EPA has urged people to adopt the “leave no trace” approach where you either dispose of your waste at allocated bins near the bathing spot or else take it home with you.

While using the See It, Say It app, people can take photos to go along with their reporting.

The beaches.ie website was developed by the EPA in co-operation with local authorities and the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.

The site also includes information on how to treat a jellyfish sting and why it is best to avoid playing in streams on beaches.


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