Outdoor Activity
Condition of swimming beaches

The condition of swimming beaches indicator reflects marine water quality conditions in areas heavily used for recreation. This indicator tracks the percent of swimming beaches that pass swimming standards with no more than one exceedance event of the swimming standard during the summer. Swimming beaches not meeting water quality criteria indicate increased risk of people getting sick through gastrointestinal illnesses, respiratory illnesses, and skin infections.

Condition of swimming beaches
By: Core Puget Sound Beaches

The percent of Puget Sound core beaches that have no more than one exceedance of the swimming standard during the summer. Core beaches are a subset of all monitored beaches that are sampled every year. Many core beaches have been used to assess the trend in the condition of swimming beaches since 2004. The method for calculating an exceedance of the swimming standard changed in 2022 and therefore these results are differentiated on the chart from earlier years. Beginning in 2022, an exceedance is now recorded over a 7-day period and is called an exceedance event.

Key Vital Sign Indicator Results

  • 90% of Puget Sound marine core beaches monitored during the 2022 swim season met the recreational water quality criteria.
  • The four core beaches which had two or more exceedances of the swimming standard in 2022 were Cline Spit County Park (Clallam County), Silverdale Waterfront Park (Kitsap County), Jack Hyde Park (Pierce County), and Larrabee State Park- Wildcat Cove (Whatcom County). There was one additional non-core beach that failed during the 2022 sampling season- Little Squalicum Park (Whatcom County).
  • Since 2004, soon after the BEACH program started, many local bacteria problems have been identified and corrected. There are still year-to-year fluctuations in marine water quality at swimming beaches, at times attributed to environmental factors such as weather, but many beaches are experiencing water quality improvements due to increased pollution identification work which identifies and corrects chronic issues.

Contributing Partners


Beginning in 2022, 95% of core beaches meet safe swimming standards annually.

Target fact sheet

Memo to Science Panel with rationale

Data Source

Washington State Department of Ecology BEACH Program and BEACH Annual Report

Vital Sign Indicator Reporter
Indicator Details
Click below for more information about this indicator, including Maps, Charts, Indicator Importance, Methods, Interpretation of Results, and Additional Resources.
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