Water quality advice for bathers

Hayling Island bathing waters have received a water quality rating of ‘excellent’ every season since 2001, however the water quality may be periodically affected by storm wastewater and emergency overflow discharges from the public sewerage system.

These discharges typically occur either during or shortly after periods of heavy rainfall. It is important to note that tidal conditions can result in a delay between the time of the discharge and the effluent reaching the Bathing Waters.

Bathing water quality can also be affected by runoff from land which can affect waters either directly, or through the local surface water sewer systems (which often discharge directly to rivers and coastal waters).

Pollution from the bathing water catchment will typically affect shallow water close to shore, and may affect water quality for up to 24 hours following heavy rainfall.

More information about water quality classifications can be found on the Environment Agency website.

When is it safest to swim?

The health risk to bathers will tend to be lowest:

  • on calm, sunny days during periods of settled weather
  • when visitor numbers are low
  • when padding or swimming without frequent immersion of the head

When are the risks higher?

Health risks to bathers will tend to be higher:

  • on overcast or rainy days during prolonged periods of unsettled weather
  • during or for up to 24hrs after a storm or other heavy rainfall, especially where heavy rainfall follows a prolonged period of dry, settled weather
  • when waters are rough and choppy
  • when entering the water for prolonged periods and venturing far from shore
  • when engaging in ‘rough play’ close to shore, where this involves sudden or unexpected submersions, and there is a greater risk of swallowing water
  • when the number of visitors at the beach is unusually high
  • when swimming on days falling outside of the bathing season