Bathing water quality

Northern Ireland’s bathing season begins on 1 June and ends on 15 September each year. The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is responsible for monitoring and making sure that Northern Ireland's coastal waters are of high enough quality to bathe in.

Water quality monitoring

Between May and September, DAERA monitors bathing water at 26 sites across Northern Ireland.  The sites are monitored weekly and water is classified into one of four categories - ‘excellent’, ‘good’, ‘satisfactory’ or ‘temporary advice issued against bathing’. 

May to September 2018 water quality results

Blue Flag beaches

Beaches with an 'excellent' water quality compliance result may be eligible for the Blue Flag award, which also looks at beach management and facilities such as litter collection, toilets, car parking, disability access and life-saving equipment. The award applies during the bathing season.

In Northern Ireland the scheme is run by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, along with the Green Coast and Seaside Award schemes. In 2018, there were 9 Blue Flag beaches in Northern Ireland, 11 Seaside Award beaches and 1 Green Coast beach .

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