Bathing water quality predictions

Our electronic signage network at 29 sites across Scotland provides real-time predictions of bathing water quality during the bathing water season (1 June to 15 September).

Information is displayed on electronic message signs at the bathing water sites and daily forecasts are also displayed on the SEPA website, smartphone application and are available via Beachline services.

Bathing Water Site Water Quality Forecast Last Updated
Aberdeen Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Ayr (South Beach) Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Brighouse Bay Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Cruden Bay Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Dhoon Bay Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Ettrick Bay Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Eyemouth Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Fisherrow Sands Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Heads of Ayr Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Irvine Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Kirkcaldy (Seafield) Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Largs (Pencil Beach) Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Lossiemouth (East) Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Luss Bay Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Millport Bay Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Monifieth Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Nairn (Central) Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Nairn (East) Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Portobello (Central) Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Portobello (West) Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Prestwick Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Rockcliffe Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Saltcoats/Ardrossan Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Sandyhills Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Seamill Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Southerness Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
St Andrews (East Sands) Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
St Andrews (West Sands) Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Stonehaven Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016
Troon (South Beach) Closed for Season
15 Sep 2016


Map of signage sites in Scotland
Mobile website also available

Mobile website version available

What does the electronic message system do?

The electronic message signs allow us to inform the public of our forecast of predicted bathing water quality, either via the message ‘no predicted issues today’ or to advise of potentially poorer quality following a short-term pollution event. Although generally of a high quality, the bathing waters were selected because they were previously found to be at risk of not meeting European standards during or after wet weather.

The daily water quality forecasts are made using our extensive rainfall and hydrological information network to inform decisions. The sign status is then recorded via a computer control station which enables switching to the relevant version of text message.

Who is involved?

We have been responsible for the real-time electronic signage since 2005. The work was initially funded by the Scottish Government and piloted jointly in 2003–2004. We provide scientific advice, technical input and manage the daily operation of the sign network. A firm of consulting engineers has been sub-contracted to manage civil engineering and field work and to provide technical support. In addition, relevant local authorities and Clean Coast Scotland have also been consulted and provide advice.

Why has this been done?

Providing information on bathing water quality to the public is an important part of the new Bathing Water Directive. Our real-time bathing water quality prediction and electronic signage network is a leading example of how this can be achieved. The system puts Scotland at the forefront of this public information provision, helping keep bathers up-to-date by providing daily forecasts of predicted water quality at 29 of Scotland’s beaches.

All the main coastal sewage discharges in south west Scotland now have full biological treatment provided to protect the environment and bathing water quality. This treatment is fully in accordance with European standards (eg as prescribed by the EC Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive). Much work has also been done to reduce run-off from farms in the catchment areas into rivers and streams flowing to the sea near bathing waters. Despite these extensive improvements, the risk of short-lived pollution during or following substantial rainfall events remains. The purpose of the signage project is to warn the public when these conditions may exist.

The signs are not intended to be an alternative to environmental improvements or action to reduce pollution, but to provide additional public information. Efforts to reduce or eliminate potential sources of pollution are continuing and are reducing the frequency with which potential poor quality warnings have to be issued.

Contact us

If you have any questions or require any further information or advice on any aspect of bathing waters quality predictions, please contact us