We encourage everyone to safely recreate on the Potomac River. There are many myths floating around that the river is unsafe to swim in, but most of the time, the river is swimmable, but here are some tips to help you make safer choices when deciding to take a dip:
- Don’t enter the water for several days after a significant rainstorm. Storm flows increase bacteria levels and therefore your chances of being exposed
- If the water looks bad or filthy, and you can't see your feet at the bottom, you should probably stay out. Like the Potomac Riverkeeper Ed Merrifield says, why gamble with your health?
- Wash thoroughly after swimming.
- Don’t swallow water.
- Don’t enter the water if you have cuts or open sores. These are pathways for bacteria to enter your body.
- People with immuno-suppressive diseases, or generally poor health should avoid contact with the river.
- Remember: swimming in the District waterways is illegal. The only exceptions are permitted triathlons.
Shenandoah Riverkeeper Jeff Kelble offers a free Swim Guide App for your smart phone. Click here to learn more! And search for "Swim Guide" in your phone's app store!
We encourage you to call/email your Congressperson and/or Senator and tell them to "Go Jump in a Lake or River," promote your swimmable waterways, protect OUR right to clean swimmable waters. and support funding for continued beach monitoring! Send them pictures of you swimming and hanging out near the water! Here are links to your Congressional Contacts: House and Senate