A bathing water is where a large number of people are expected to swim and paddle. The Borough of Fylde has two designated bathing waters: one at St Annes pier and the second at St Annes North by the Coastguard station.

At these points it is important we keep an eye on how clean the sea water is, i.e. how much bacteria is in the water, to ensure we know how clean and safe the water is for bathers. The acceptable levels of bacteria are regulated under the European Bathing Water Directive. The Environment Agency takes 20 samples over the bathing water season each year, from May to September, to test the levels and report the results so the public can decide whether to bathe in the water.

The acceptable levels of bacteria are regulated under the European Water Directive, and water quality at designated bathing water sites in England is assessed by the Environment Agency (EA). The EA provides an annual classification of water quality, but daily fluctuations in water quality can and do occur.

From May to September, weekly assessments measure current water quality, and occasionally pollution risk forecasts (PRFs) are issued. These occur when factors such as the weather or tide may have a temporary effect on the bathing water quality, and lets bathers know when a temporary reduction in water quality is likely, so you can make an informed decision before deciding whether to bathe on a given day.

Communicating our bathing water standards

The classifications for bathing waters are:

  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Sufficient
  • Poor

We encourage people to check these before swimming and paddling in Fylde and you will see signage at the entrance points to our bathing areas.

In attempt to improve our bathing waters, Fylde Council have taken a proactive stance and joined partnership with Fylde Coast Against Sewerage (FCAS). FCAS are a growing volunteer group who are active across the Fylde Coast and have a shared objective with Fylde Council of improving the quality of the Fylde Coast Bathing Waters. The volunteer group will carry out independent testing of the bathing waters through the bathing season (May-September) which will help build the evidence base and will be used to constructively challenge all agencies and organisations tasked with improving the quality of our Bathing Waters.

Useful links

  • You can check the bathing water quality at St Annes beaches, as well as over 400 beaches across the UK here:¬†Bathing water quality (data.gov.uk)
  • We continue to work closely with our partners at both the Environment Agency and United Utilities to continuously improve the water quality status in Fylde, and you can find out more information regarding both bathing waters by visiting¬†Bathing water quality (data.gov.uk)
  • United Utilities have an interactive map, allowing you to check the water quality at each beach and if it’s been affected by the use of combined sewer overflows (which play a key role in helping to stop flooding if there’s been very heavy rain, but can also affect water quality).
  • For the most up-to-date tide times at St Annes beach, please click here.