Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn
Manhattan Beach. Photo credit:

The ‘Know Before You Go’ texting service allows subscribers to know if water conditions are safe before heading to NYC’s beaches.

Manhattan Beach. Photo credit:

Even if it doesn’t quite feel like it yet, summer is here and it’s time to hit the beach. If you ever wondered about the water quality of NYC’s beaches, the health department offers the free text service, “Know Before You Go,” that keeps you in the loop if your favorite spot is open or closed due to water quality issues. New Yorkers can text “BEACH” or “PLAYA” to 877877 to get the status of any of the city’s eight public beaches or to receive text alerts on weather conditions or warnings.

“For millions of New Yorkers and tourists each year, summertime includes enjoying and exploring New York City’s beaches,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Our ‘Know Before You Go’ texting service is a useful planning tool that allows subscribers to know if water conditions are safe before heading to the beach.”

NYC has more than 15 miles of beach access at eight public and 15 private beaches. The health department, which is responsible for beach surveillance and routine water quality monitoring for all of them, regularly tests the water quality near the city’s beaches to make sure it is safe for swimming. When water is polluted from excessive rain runoff, sewage or other pollution, it can pose health risks to swimmers and beachgoers.

“Beach season in New York City is here, and water conditions can vary day-to-day,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver. “NYC Parks encourages beachgoers to ‘Know Before You Go,’ to ensure a happy, healthy summer of fun in the sun.”

“Know Before You Go” currently has over 10,000 subscribers and last year beachgoers texted the service more than 7,500 times. In addition to the texting service, the public can also call 311 to find out if there are any warnings or closures before heading to the beach. For more information on beaches and water quality information, visit


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