Map pins are available via the tab key in a list after the map.

You can pan the map with the keyboard arrows.

Map pins are available via the tab key in a list after the map.

You can move the map using the keyboard arrows.

Explore water quality across Victorian beaches

EPA forecasts water quality for 36 beaches in Port Phillip Bay.

EPA also issues alerts when there is an issue affecting a water body in Victoria.

Beach Report season is now open. Always check for signs of pollution before you swim.


Avoid swimming near stormwater or river outlets 24-48 hours after heavy rain.  
Always check for signs of pollution before swimming. For example, stormwater drains flowing, murky water, bad smell, and rubbish. 


Water quality forecast key

  • Good

    Suitable for swimming

  • Fair

    May not be suitable for swimming

  • Poor

    Not suitable for swimming

  • Illegal

    City bylaws prevent swimming

View data in table format

Healthy swimming advice

For healthy swimming:

  • Avoid swimming near stormwater drains 
  • Avoid swimming for 48 hours after rain
  • Try not to swallow water during recreation 
  • Cover cuts and scratches with waterproof bandages
  • Wash your skin with soap after touching the water and shower after swimming.

Children, older people and people with a weakened immune system are most at risk of getting sick from polluted water. You should see your doctor if you suspect you are unwell from swimming.

Daily forecasts are posted twice a day on our website and Twitter. We also work with Life Saving Victoria to have signs showing the water quality forecast at lifesaving clubs on weekends and public holidays during summer.

Recreational water use

There are two kinds of recreational water activity:

  • Primary contact recreation, where you are in direct contact with the water, can be fully immersed and could swallow water. This includes swimming, surfing, water skiing, and diving.
  • Secondary contact recreation, where you have direct contact with the water but are unlikely to swallow it. This includes paddling, wading, boating and fishing.

EPA water quality forecasts of Good, Fair and Poor are for primary contact recreation. Secondary contact with the water poses a reduced risk of illness as you are less likely to ingest the water. EPA long term water quality monitoring shows our microbial indicators only very rarely exceed secondary contact criteria.

Forecast ratings

Forecasts are issued for varied reasons. Clicking on the forecast pin on the Beach Report map will give more information about the reason for the forecast.

Some examples of forecasts and the reasons behind them are given in the tables below. 

Forecast rating: Good
Forecast reason  Action/advice
Stormwater pollution is not impacting the beach Water is suitable for swimming
Forecast rating: Fair 
Forecast reason  Action/advice
Stormwater due to recent or forecast rain may be impacting the beach

Water may not be suitable for swimming.

Check the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) or Melbourne Water rain gauges near your beach, or BOM forecast to see when rain is due. 

Check for signs of pollution – drains flowing, murky water, bad smell, rubbish on water’s edge.

Water quality alert An event impacting water quality is occurring at the beach. Water may not be safe for swimming. Check what the event is by clicking on pin on Beach Report map or go to water quality alert.
Sampling results are elevated Weekly sampling results are elevated for the beach, at levels which may make water quality unsuitable for swimming. Check for signs of pollution before you swim.
Forecast rating: Poor 
Forecast reason  Action/advice
Stormwater due to recent or forecast rain is impacting the beach

Water is not suitable for swimming.

Water quality alert An event impacting water quality is occurring at the Beach. Water is not suitable for swimming. Check what the event is by clicking on pin on Beach Report map or go to water quality alert.
Based on sampling results Water is not safe for swimming. Weekly sampling results are elevated for the beach, at levels which are unsuitable for swimming. 

Weekly microbial water quality sampling at beaches

Samples are collected at 36 beaches on Port Phillip Bay every week. These samples are tested for enterococci, an indicator of faecal pollution (e.g., sewage, animal faeces). Swimmers who ingest water contaminated by faecal pollution may become ill. 

Lab analyses to determine enterococci levels take 24 hours. Results are reported to the community the day after samples were collected. If microbial water quality standards are not met and there hasn’t been any recent rain, EPA takes a second sample to investigate further. Water quality is expected to meet standards if there hasn’t not been rain and stormwater pollution.

You can view recent sampling results for Beach Report sites at DataVic.

Get water quality forecast alerts on your phone

Sign up to EPA’s free SMS service. You'll get a text when the water at a beach near you is forecast to have poor water quality. 

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How are forecasts calculated?

EPA forecasts predict the risk of stormwater pollution during and after rain. The forecasts are based on rain, water quality history, sunlight, weekly sampling, and pollution reports.

The forecasts are informed by weekly water sample results. The samples are tested for bacteria found in faeces called enterococci. Enterococci is the best indicator for measuring pollution from faecal contamination at beaches.

Our weekly water sampling is assessed against water quality standards for swimming in the Environment Reference Standard which came into effect in 2021.

How to use our forecasts to inform decision making

Forecasts predict the risk of stormwater pollution at Bay beaches. Beach Report forecasts are based on:

  • Historical microbial water quality – Indicates how susceptible a beach is to stormwater pollution
  • Observed and forecast rainfall – Indicates recent or likely stormwater pollution
  • Light levels (cloud cover) – Sunlight can cause die-off of microbes in the water
  • Weekly sampling water quality results
  • Pollution reports
  • Other information considered – Water levels at rivers flowing into Port Phillip Bay and observations from samplers or the community. 

The reason a forecast has been provided for each beach can be seen when selecting its pin on the Beach Report map on this page.

Making risk-based decisions about swimming or events at your beach

Beach Report forecasts are a starting point for decision making. Water quality can be variable over large areas and over time. Always check for signs of pollution before entering the water. 

If you swim at a time outside of the Beach Report forecasts times of 10 am and 3 pm (e.g., early morning), or at a beach or location not close to a Beach Report site, you can use the following information to support your decision to swim. 

  • Assess if your beach is likely to be sensitive to stormwater pollution:
    • Are there stormwater drains nearby?
    • Is it close to the mouth of a river or creek?
    • Are you going to be recreating at the beach or further out in the Bay?
  • Check for observed rainfall in the last 48 hrs and for forecast rain:
    • BOM rain gauges with 30-minute updates. 
    • Melbourne Water rain gauges with one hourly updates. 
    • Check BOM rain gauges for rainfall >25 mm in the last five days.
    • Are there any BOM warnings for thunderstorms and flood warnings on the BOM website
    • BOM MetEye three hourly and 24 hour rain forecasts.
    • Check for pollution alerts.
  • Once at the beach, check for signs of pollution:
    • Are drains flowing?
    • Is the water discoloured?
    • Is there an odour?
    • Are there signs of recent stormwater pollution such as litter on the water’s edge?


The audience for Beach Report forecasts

Beach Report forecasts are conservative to protect human health. They are aimed at the broader community, which includes children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems. These groups are at higher risk of illness if they ingest or come into contact with polluted water.

Gastroenteritis is a common illness you can get from swimming in polluted water. Children, elderly, and people with vulnerable immune systems are more likely to become ill, or get more severe illness from water-borne pathogens (e.g., central nervous system infections, respiratory diseases). Anyone experiencing swim-related illness should seek advice from their doctor. 

Areas of the Bay Beach Report forecasts apply to

Our forecasts apply to beaches where we sample for microbial water quality. You can check where we sample by zooming in on the pins on our Beach Report map on this page. Most Beach Report sites are located in front of life saving clubs, where people swim between the flags. Patrolled beaches display EPA’s water quality forecast signs.

Other beaches closer to stormwater drains or river mouths are at higher risk from stormwater pollution than Beach Report sites. Beaches further from stormwater drains and rivers are lower risk, as well as activities further out into the Bay and away from river mouths.

Water quality forecasting between October-December 2022

Due to higher-than-average rainfall in October and November 2022, Beach Report issued mostly Fair and Poor forecasts. This was due to:

  • Variable weekly microbial results resulting in a conservative approach to forecasts 
  • Water samples not meeting standards for swimming when samples were collected close to rain events
  • High river flows into the Bay, presenting a risk to water quality
  • Sampler observations and public reports indicating ongoing brown discolouration of water at beaches
  • Other signs of storms, and recent river and stormwater inflows into the Bay including odour, rubbish on the water’s edge, sea foam, and washed up and decomposing seagrass.

As a precaution, many forecasts were Fair to prompt beach users to check for signs of pollution and use their judgement based on their health/risk profile (e.g., family with young children, people with weakened immune system).


Reviewed 15 March 2022