Many beachgoers don’t know if it will be safe to go in the water this Labor Day weekend. Due to the blackout, heavy rains and other factors that contribute to pollution, beaches are being closed at record rates this summer. “Even when the counties are testing the waters, they struggle with getting the word out at numerous beaches across the country,” noted Jackie Savitz, Director of the Pollution Program at Oceana, “If one of those beaches is in your travel plans, you’ll want to be prepared and ‘know before you go’ so that the trip to the beach doesn’t turn into a trip to the doctor.”
In response to this problem, Oceana has created an online service to automatically alert beachgoers about closures and warnings as soon as the county issues them. Oceana now offers comprehensive information on beaches in many parts of the country (information about the service can be found at www.oceana.org). Users can sign up for an e-mail alert system, and soon text messaging for cell phones will be available. While some states are not yet participating, ultimately Oceana hopes to provide one-stop-shopping for up-to-date U.S. beach closure information. “It’s not just about where you live, it’s about where you are going,” said beach vacationer Lois Herzfeld. “I don’t have time to track down the various Health or Environment Departments in every state I visit, this is one-stop-shopping and I’m telling all my friends about it.”
This summer there have been record numbers of beach closings around the country. For example, in San Diego 18 out of 104 beaches were closed at least once and some were closed many times this summer according to Oceana based on data compiled by its partner, Earth 911.
Oceana is a non-profit international advocacy organization dedicated to restoring and protecting the world's oceans through policy advocacy, science, law and public education. For more information, please visit www.Oceana.org.