Maryland Beaches - Tips for Swimmers

Swimming in natural waters is never risk free even with the best monitoring data available. To minimize the risk associated with swimming in natural waters, the following tips are provided:

  • Check with your local health department or MDE before swimming in natural waters.
  • Avoid swimming within 48 hours of a heavy rain event.
  • Try not to swallow beach water.
  • Avoid swimming if you feel ill or have open cuts or sores.  If water contact can't be avoided, cover your open cut or sore with waterproof bandages. 
  • Always take a shower or bathe after swimming.
  • Do not swim near storm drains located along the beach area.
  • If they are available use diaper-changing stations in restroom facilities, or change diapers away from the waters' edge.
  • Remember to properly dispose of used diapers.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water after using the bathroom or changing diapers.
  • Pick up waste from your pets and dispose of it in the trash.
  • Get involved and volunteer in local beach clean up efforts.
  • Do your part and encourage others to keep picnic areas near the beach free of debris and garbage. 
  • Do not attract duck, geese, or seagulls by feeding them.
  • When boating, use an approved marina pump-out station for boat waste disposal.
  • If you have a septic tank system, keep it maintained and in good working order.
  • If you see any unsafe or unhealthy conditions, report them to a lifeguard or beach manager.

Contact Us

You can contact MDE’s Beaches program by calling 1-800-633-6101, x-3906 or (410) 537-3608.


Additional information about beach water quality monitoring and public notification, swimming-related and recreational water illnesses, and other related technical information is available at the following websites: