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 coastal waters are of high enough quality to bathe in.
Due to the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, DAERA Marine and Fisheries Division is considering the bathing water sampling programme for the 2021 bathing season. Information will be updated regularly.
Water quality monitoring
Bathing water at 26 sites is monitored weekly from May to September and classified into one of four categories:
- temporary advice issued against bathing
2021 bathing water quality posters
Most recent results published in the 2021 season for bathing waters:
- Antrim Coast bathing water quality
- North Coast bathing water quality
- North Down bathing water quality
- South Down bathing water quality
2020 bathing water compliance
Portrush (Mill) West
Murlough Co Down
Cranfield (Cranfield Bay)
Portrush (Curran) East
Blue Flag beaches
Beaches with an excellent water quality compliance result may be eligible for the Blue Flag award. The award also looks at beach management and facilities such as:
- litter collection
- car parking
- disability access
- 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 2020, six Blue Flag beaches and four Blue Flag Marinas in Northern Ireland, 12 Seaside Award beaches and one Green Coast beach were recognised.