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Wisconsin lakes with swimming beaches.
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Contact information
For information on beaches, contact:
Donalea Dinsmore
Office of the Great Lakes
Division of Water
608–266–1926

Beach safety tips

Over 84,000 miles of Wisconsin's rivers provide beauty and ecological health.
Enjoying Wisconsin’s beaches includes helpful safety tips likes never swimming alone or wearing sun screen. Have a safe trip to Wisconsin’s beaches

Wisconsin’s beaches are a great place to swim, build sand castles, or watch the sun set over the water. Beachgoers will find 56 miles of public beaches on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior alone, and plenty of places to dip their toes in on Wisconsin’s 15,000 inland lakes and 84,000 miles of river.

Enjoying a safe and fun day at the beach

More than 100 Wisconsin public beaches along Lake Michigan and Lake Superior regularly test beach water quality and inform beachgoers about conditions. Beachgoers can go online for the latest conditions, for maps of the beaches, and to learn which beaches in a general area are open. Beachgoers will also find signs posted at the beach with similar information. For more information see Wisconsin Beach Health [exit DNR].

In 2003, Wisconsin became the first state to meet federal BEACH (Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health) Act requirements to develop a state program for testing and notifying beachgoers of water quality conditions on coastal beaches.

Some of Wisconsin’s inland beaches are monitored as well, a responsibility of the local health department.

For more details regarding beach closings and water quality concerns, look up the details on the Wisconsin Beach Health site [exit DNR]. Regardless of which beach you’re visiting, some common sense precautions can help you maximize your fun. The following tips will help you stay safe on the water, avoid getting sun burned and avoid getting sick if there are elevated bacteria levels in the water.

Tips to enjoy your days at the beach

  • Never swim alone
  • Stay in designated swimming areas
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Wear sunglasses that absorb at least 90 percent of UV sunlight
  • Wear sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) and a wide–brimmed hat
  • Spend part of your day in shaded areas
  • Wash your hands before eating
  • Shower after swimming
  • Don’t swallow the water
  • Avoid swimming after a heavy rain
  • Don’t swim near storm drains

Help keep your beaches clean

Citizens in many communities are already playing a role in helping keep their beaches open and clean for swimmers now and in the future. Here are some steps you can take on your own to help protect your favorite beach.

  • Dispose of litter in appropriate beachside containers – especially cigarette butts, diapers and pet waste.
  • Please DO NOT feed gulls and waterfowl. It only encourages the birds to hang out at the beach too, which increases the risk of fecal matter at the beach.
  • Don’t enter the water if you are ill.
  • Change diapers and put plastic/rubber pants on diapered children before allowing them in the water.
  • Do not dump anything down storm drains. Encourage and participate in such community activities as painting "Do Not Dump" signs near storm drains.
  • Avoid using fertilizers and pesticides on your yard.
Last revised: Tuesday April 16 2013