Swimming Advisory Caution

The DNREC Shellfish and Recreational Water Program has issued a permanent swimming advisory caution for Delaware’s Inland Bays (Rehoboth Bay, Indian River and Bay, Little Assawoman Bay and the portion of Assawoman Bay located in Delaware) and for Delaware Bay beaches north of, but not including, Lewes Beach.

For More Information
contact the Recreational Water Program

Recreational Water Monitoring

The waters of the Inland Bays and Delaware Bay may contain organisms that could be harmful to one’s health, particularly for persons with certain medical conditions or compromised immune systems. Swimming could result in an increased risk of rashes, infections or gastrointestinal distress. This is more true during and after rainfall.

Sources of Bacteria

Water in the Bays may contain enterococcus bacteria, an indicator of other bacteria and viruses that may cause human illness.

This bacteria can come from natural and human sources. Scientific studies show wildlife to be a major contributor. Wildlife, and the enterococcus bacteria they produce, are part of the natural ecosystem of many Inland Bays beaches. These beaches aren’t regularly flushed out by tides. So enterococcus bacteria stays in the waters.

Enterococcus levels may be higher following rainfall.

If you have certain medical conditions or a compromised immune system, check with your doctor before you swim in any natural water body.

The Swimming Advisory Caution

The swimming advisory caution does not mean that a beach is closed. It is meant to warn people about the risks of swimming in natural waters. And to highlight the risks for persons with certain medical conditions or immune system issues.

If you have concerns about your specific health conditions, please consult your health care provider.

For your health and safety, it is best to swim at beaches with lifeguards. Water quality at guarded beaches is tested weekly during the summer.