Bathing Waters

The way we describe Scotland’s bathing waters quality has changed, with a new system, based on updated science, implemented across all EU member States.

The most visible change for the 2016 season is that bathing water quality will be described by a classification statement based on a dataset gathered over four years of monitoring, while bathing water profiles will describe the overall condition of a location. The new classifications – excellent, good, sufficient and poor – will be calculated at the end of one season for display at the start of the following season, and will indicate the status of the general water quality condition for each location. In addition to the benefits of a classification system, the total number of samples used over four years is much increased from the single year approach and will better describe the general quality of the waters.

Scotland has 84 designated bathing waters. Over the three and a half month season from early June to mid-September, more than 1,500 water samples are collected and analysed, with the results published on our website a few days after sampling.

Improving Scotland’s water environment remains a priority for us and we continue to work with our partners to improve bathing water quality, not only to help bring all our bathing waters up to the required standard, but to make our summer visits to the beach safer and more enjoyable.

How is the information made available?

During the bathing waters season, sampling results are published online, along with profiles for each bathing water which provide further information about each site.

Daily water quality predictions are accessible from electronic information signs at 29 bathing waters. This network allows us to inform the public about current bathing water quality and to advise of potentially poorer quality following a short-term pollution event. These predictions can also be accessed from our mobile website or by calling our Beachline service on 08452 30 30 98.

At the close of the season, the information is compiled into a comprehensive report of Scotland’s bathing waters.

Contact us

For more information about Scotland’s bathing waters or how to interpret and use data, please contact us.