Jersey Shore and Delaware beach closures: What’s open; what’s not
By Chris A. Williams and Garland Potts
Summer’s here and you want to go to the beach. Here’s our guide to which beaches are open, closed or under advisory, based on live water quality monitoring data from New Jersey and Delaware (Here’s what that means.) You can also use this tool to save your favorite beaches, get driving directions and check the weather before you head out.
Going to the beach is a bit more complicated this year, though. Beach safety during the coronavirus pandemic means socially distancing, wearing a mask and even finding a different beach if it gets too crowded. Stay safe, everyone.
Beaches can be closed or under advisory for many reasons, including too much debris on shore and high bacteria count in the water. Both New Jersey and Delaware test water samples from most recreational beaches at least once a week from mid-May to mid-September. For unguarded beaches, Delaware doesn’t always test as frequently. Check the test date for when the last result was taken.
The tests look for Enterococci bacteria, found in animal and human waste. For ocean beaches, the level is considered safe it if is below 104 colonies per 100 mL of water. If a beach is closed or under advisory for water quality, you can still safely sunbathe, picnic and walk on the beach; just avoid swimming, wading, or playing in the water.
About the data
The data used for New Jersey beaches comes from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program. After one failed test, a beach is given an advisory and tested every day; a second consecutive fail means the beach is closed.
The data used for Delaware beaches comes from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. Delaware’s state data doesn’t show beaches as closed: When a beach fails water testing, it is placed under advisory and water is resampled until it meets health standards. Delaware also sometimes issues precautionary advisories when there is a risk of elevated bacteria based on past tests.
This page was last updated on .
Former Inquirer news developers Jared Whalen and Bayliss Wagner contributed to this project.