The state of Rhode Island has over 400 miles of coastline. During the summer months, some of our beaches may see 10,000 visitors in a single day. In order to keep our beaches clean and safe, it is important to do your part in eliminating pollution and preventing illness.
What Beachgoers should do
Before you go, make sure the beach is open for swimming
The Beach Monitoring Program oversees water quality testing at licensed beaches during the summer months to make sure the water is safe for swimming.
To check the status of beaches, use the Beach Viewer map. This map reflects the most up-to-date information on water quality status at licensed beaches in Rhode Island.
Too much sun can cause painful burning and increase the risk of skin cancer.
Look for a sunscreen product with both UVB and UVA protection and a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
Apply sunscreen liberally at least 20 minutes before going into the sun, and reapply generously after swimming and throughout the day. Sunscreen is most effective when left on the surface of the skin; Do NOT rub it in thoroughly. Note that you should not use sunscreen on babies under 6 months old.
Avoid and/or treat itches and stings
"Swimmer's Itch" is a skin reaction caused by an allergic reaction to a parasite. To avoid a reaction towel dry vigorously as soon as you get out and shower as soon as you can. Treatment may include the use of antihistamines. Check with your healthcare provider if itching persists. more
Stinging of the skin is a common reaction to jellyfish stings. Some jellyfish like lion's mane and stinging sea nettles are common. A relative new comer to Rhode Island beaches is the small clinging jellyfish. more
Do not leave young children or non-swimmers unattended.
Make sure children and other other non-swimmers use life jackets or other approved flotation devices.
Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming and while supervising children.
Keep food safe at the beach
Bring food that does not require refrigeration
Pack perishables in an insulated cooler with ice or frozen "gel-paks" to keep the temperatures below 40° F.
Shade the cooler and/or partially bury it in the sand.
Do not eat perishable food that has been left out in the hot sun for over 2 hours; when in doubt throw it out.
Let us know if you get sick after going to the beach
Despite best efforts to monitor water quality and close beaches, people can get intestinal infections after being exposed to contaminated water. moreLet us know if that happens to you so we can investigate and close the beach if appropriate.
Do not rely on swim diapers or swim pants to keep the water clean
The use of swim diapers and swim pants may give many parents and pool staff a false sense of security regarding fecal contamination. Check your toddlers diapers regularly and change them if needed. Dispose of soiled diapers in the trash. more
Be a responsible pet owner
Remember to scoop the poop and dispose of it properly—at home and in the community. Pet waste can pollute beaches and cause illness. more
Follow local rules for pets at the beach. State beaches do not allow dogs during the on-season from April 1 to September 30. more Town beach rules may vary, but they are generally posted at the beach.
Follow the leash laws for your city or town, and always keep your dog on a leash at state parks and beaches. more
Don't swim, fish, or harvest shellfish in water contaminated by harmful algae blooms
If the water looks scummy, don't go in as it may be polluted with harmful algae. more