Toggle menu

Bathing water quality

River and sea water quality is the responsibility of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). There are designated bathing beaches at Troon South Beach, Prestwick Beach, Ayr South Beach, Turnberry Beach and Girvan Beach, where SEPA samples seawater at least once a fortnight from June to September In addition, samples of seawater are taken from amenity beaches in Barassie, Heads of Ayr, Culzean, Croy and Maidens.

The revised EC Directive on bathing water quality was transposed into Scottish law by The Bathing Waters (Scotland) Regulations 2008 which came into effect in May 2008. Key features include increased provision of public information, tighter microbiological standards to be met by 2015 and monitoring to be commenced by 2012. Part of this revised directive changed the requirement to post historic bathing water results at beaches. Several beaches (such as Ayr, Troon and Prestwick) do have electronic real time displays which forecast water quality for that day.

More information about bathing water quality is available from Scottish Environment Protection Agency, tel: 01292 294000.

Beach safety

Visiting the beach is fun. To help you stay safe at the beach please follow these guidelines.

  • Keep an eye on the weather and tides
  • Always read and follow the safety signs and identify where any public rescue equipment is located
  • Supervise your children at all times
  • Tell others where you're going and carry a means of calling for help
  • Never swim alone or beyond your depth, even calm water can be dangerous
  • Swimming after storms, floods or heavy rainfall should be avoided as the risk of short term pollution is greatly increased
  • Beware of changes in water depth and other hazards
  • Be sun safe, drink plenty of water and apply sun cream regularly
  • Use inflatables cautiously, always use a fixed line to the shore

If you see someone in difficulty in the water DIAL 999 and ask for the COASTGUARD.

If you wish to report any contamination on the beaches or in the water please contact Environmental Health - Contact Environmental Health - South Ayrshire Council (