Port Philip Bay beaches farthest from the Melbourne population centres performed the best over summer, according to Environment Protection Authority Victoria’s (EPA) 2020–21 summer Beach Report and Yarra Watch service.
The service gives Bay and Yarra users twice daily information about the forecast water quality at 36 bay beaches and four popular swimming sites along the Yarra from December to Labour Day each summer.
Ranked by the number of “good”, “fair” and “poor” forecasts, the top performer was Eastern Beach in Geelong with 80 forecast good water quality days, followed by St Leonards on the Bellarine Peninsula with 78, Portsea and Rosebud with 76 and Sorrento, all on the Mornington Peninsula, with 75 good days.
“Heavy rain after dry weather can carry a large amount of pollution in stormwater drains into waterways, including the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay,” said EPA Water Specialist Leon Metzeling.
“Skin rashes and even gastro can occur when people are exposed to high bacterial levels. When the forecast is for poor water quality, EPA advises against swimming and we issue a warning through our online and social media services, or via the free SMS alert. There were 175,000 personalised water quality alerts issued directly to subscriber mobile phones this season.
“The service has become extremely popular and will return for summer 2021–22.”
Factors that affect water quality include proximity to storm water drains, river and creek outflows and activity like dredging.
Bay beach ranking summer 2020–21
|Beach||Ranking 2020–21||Ranking 2019–20||Ranking 2018–19|
|Rosebud Life Saving Club||3||4||5|
|Mt Martha Life Saving Club||7||2||10|
|Black Rock Life Saving Club||9||9||5|
|Half Moon Bay||12||6||10|
|Carrum Surf Life Saving Club||16||25||10|
|Aspendale Life Saving Club||16||22||18|
|Brighton Life Saving Club||21||9||36|
|Mornington Life Saving Club||24||20||26|
|Frankson Coast Guard||26||28||26|
|South Melbourne Life Saving Club||26||32||31|
|Frankston Surf Life Saving Club||28||28||23|