Our Beach Environmental Assessment, Communication & Health (BEACH) program ensures that marine water is safe to swim and play in and informs the public if water doesn't meet swimming standards.
Out of the 60 beaches sampled in 2021, 77 percent were considered passing beaches. This is a 18 percent decrease in passing beaches from 2020. A beach is considered passing if it has no more than one sampling event that exceeds the swimming standard.
You can look up your local beach and see how clean it was during 2021 with county-by-county links below. Also, you can compare 2021 to previous years and overall averages with our summary bar chart below.
Keeping beaches safe
From Memorial Day through Labor Day in 2021, our scientists and county and local BEACH partners sampled 60 public beaches on marine waters for bacterial contamination. We collected water samples from high-use beaches weekly or biweekly to test for enterococcus, a type of fecal bacteria. High enterococcus levels are linked to swimmer illness. This information helps health officials issue swimming advisories.
The Makah Tribe BEACH Program did not sample in 2021 because of COVID-19.
Water quality — beach by beach
Click on the county links below for more details on water quality at local swimming beaches:
Beach water quality summary 2021
In 2021, the Washington State BEACH Program sampled 60 beaches. The figure below shows that in 2021, 80 percent of beaches had fewer than two exceedances of the swimming standard. This is below the yearly average (2004 – 2020) of 85 percent passing. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Makah tribe did not sample during the 2021 season. Therefore, data from Makah BEACH Program beaches are not included in this graph.