Summer’s Here, so Check In Before You Get In!

This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer around San Diego County — and that means it’s time to start hitting the beaches.

It also means it’s a good time to check out the County’s “Check In Before You Get In,” web app. It lets you find out immediately from your smartphone or laptop if water conditions at more than 80 local beaches are clean and safe, 365 days a year, for surfing, swimming or whatever you like to do in the water.

The County of San Diego’s Department of Environmental Health has historically helped protect the public by collecting and analyzing water quality at beaches and issuing alerts and posting warning signs at beaches when the water is unhealthy.

But the “Check In Before You Get In” web app means you never have to drive to the beach to find out if the water’s clean. Just click on the web app’s link, save it to your bookmarks and you’re set.

The app features a map of the county’s entire coast line with a pinch-to-expand map and pin marks for each beach. When the beach’s water quality is clean, the pin mark is green. The pin mark is yellow when there is an advisory warning that bacteria levels may exceed healthy levels and it is recommended to avoid water contact. The pin marks are red if the beach is closed by the effects of sewage or other chemical spills.

The app also has an overview about the water quality testing program, historical reports, related links and contact information.

Department of Environmental Health personnel typically collect and analyze 85 samples every week from beaches and bays along the San Diego County coastline from April 1 through Oct. 31, the typical beach season. Sampling is done once a week at 60 sites during winter months.

The department has posted its water quality information with an interactive map for years on its sdbeachinfo.com webpage. But it optimized the page for smartphone use in 2014 and re-dubbed it “Check In Before You Get In” last year.

And there is more good news. Just in case you do forget to check the web app before driving to the beach, only to find signs telling you the water may be unsafe, you won’t have to pack back into the car and drive blindly searching for a clean beach. In addition to creating the “Check In Before You Get In,” the department also started putting scannable QR codes on beach signs you can read with your smartphone that will tell you exactly where the nearest clean beach is.

So, enjoy the summer! And remember to Check In Before You Get In!


Gig Conaughton is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact