NYC Beach Classifications

The NYC Health Department inspects all permitted City beaches and monitors their water quality.

If water quality test results do not meet the criteria for a beach to be open for swimming and wading, the City will issue a beach advisory or closure. These notifications must be posted by beach facilities.

To find the status of a City beach:

Do not swim in areas where there are no lifeguards, or when a beach is under an advisory or closure. If you or someone you know became sick from swimming at a beach, call 311 or submit an online complaint.

How Beaches are Classified

Each beach receives a classification by the Health Department based on water quality data and trends.

Factors that help determine classifications include:

  • Regional hydrodynamics
  • Sanitary and safety surveys
  • Spills or pollution events
  • Site conditions
  • How often the beach is used
  • Size of a beach
  • Proximity to potential pollution sources and storm water discharges


A beach is classified as open and approved for swimming and wading when all of the following are true:

  • Beach water quality meets established water standards for marine water beaches.
  • Inspectors were satisfied by sanitary and safety surveys.
  • There have been no repeated complaints or reports of illness or injury on or near the beach.


When water has high levels of bacteria, the Health Department issues an advisory. This means swimming and wading are not recommended, but the beach is open.

Contact with contaminated water may cause vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory illness or infections. Children, pregnant women, the elderly and the chronically ill are at higher risk of getting sick.

An advisory may be issued based on:

  • Water quality concerns
  • Presence of:
    • Floatable debris
    • Medical or infectious waste
    • Toxic contaminants
    • Petroleum products
    • Other contamination
  • Sewage and wastewater discharge following heavy rainfall.

The following levels of rainfall can result in an advisory:

Beach Rainfall Limit Advisory Duration
Orchard Beach more than 2.5 inches 24 hours
Manhattan Beach,
Kingsborough Community College,
Brooklyn Midland Beach,
South Beach,
Cedar Grove Beach
1.5-2.5 inches 12 hours
more than 2.5 inches 24 hours
Coney Island more than 2.5 inches 12 hours
Gerritsen Beach
Whitestone Booster
0.3-0.6 inches 18 hours
more than 0.6 inches 40 hours
Douglaston 0.3-0.6 inches 30 hours
0.6-2.5 inches 60 hours
more than 2.5 inches 72 hours
All Bronx Private Beaches 0.6-2.5 inches 36 hours
more than 2.5 inches 48 hours


City beaches may be closed for swimming and wading when:

  • Samples show that beach water quality does not meet established standards.
  • There have been a high number of illnesses or complaints about illness or injury.
  • There are hazardous amounts of:
    • Floatable debris
    • Medical/infectious waste
    • Toxic contaminants
    • Petroleum products
  • Sewage and wastewater discharge have lowered the water quality.
  • Any other environmental factors that may be a public health or safety hazard.

Check current beach conditions.

Surveillance and Monitoring Beach Reports

More Beach Information