Water Quality, Illness, Public Notification
April 09 2015

Ocean Illness Reporting Tool

by Mara Dias

Have you ever gotten sick after visiting the beach? Have you developed a rash, skin infection, flu-like symptoms or an upset stomach after going for a surf or swim?

Exposure to polluted water, especially water that is contaminated with human sewage, can cause a whole range of illnesses and adverse health symptoms. Download this fact sheet or visit Beachapedia to learn more about the Health Threats from Polluted Coastal Waters.

Surfrider has developed this online tool  to report incidents of ocean illness.  It can be used to make a record of your own symptoms and exposure, or by a chapter to gather information on reported illnesses at a particular beach or set geographical area such as a county, watershed or island-wide. 

For instance, in Hawaii there seems to be an increasing number of anecdotal reports of staph infections and other skin conditions contracted after swimming or surfing in polluted water.  The chapters in Hawaii will promote the use of Surfrider's online illness reporting tool to determine how bad the situation is and to appeal to local authorities to take action to better protect public health at the beach.  This will compliment a whole suite of policy changes that Surfrider is advocating for in Hawaii to both improve water quality and better protect public health at the beach including; legislation to ban the installation of cess pools, better stormwater management, and public notification of polluted conditions with signs posted at the beach.

Contact Mara Dias at mdias@surfrider.org  with any questions on how to make a report or how to use the ocean illness reporting tool to gather information on sickness reported at your beach.