Swim Guide is gearing up for a sixth season

Environmental, Sound Rivers

Posted on March 30th, 2023

Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell takes a sample at Washington’s Havens Gardens on Thursday. The sampling of this site is part of the year-round Swim Guide sampling.

Sound Rivers’ Volunteer Coordinator Emily Fritz and Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register are prepping for a sixth year of Swim Guide, the program that lets you know where it’s safe to swim at popular recreational sites all summer long.

“Since Taylor and I are new to Sound Rivers and the Swim Guide program, we decided to visit all the Swim Guide sites,” Emily said.

This week, the two visited about 1/3 of the plus-50 sites — those near Washington and New Bern — to run down of checklist for the coming season’s volunteers: determining whether sites are accessible with safe, easy access to the water and making sure directions to and coordinates for the sites are correct.

Last year, Sound Rivers expanded Swim Guide, continuing to test and post results monthly throughout the year. On Memorial Day weekend, however, the full program will kick off, providing weekly results on Friday afternoons via text, website and social media posts and Public Radio East spots. The full program runs until Labor Day weekend.

Next week, Emily and Taylor will resume Swim Guide site-checking closer to the Raleigh area. Emily said she’s got quite a few volunteers lined up for many of the sites, but she could use a few more.

“There are still quite a few spots that we need covered on the Tar River and up in the Raleigh/Durham area,” Emily said.

If you’re interested in volunteering to collect Swim Guide samples, reach out to Emily at

The following sites still need volunteers for sample collection:

Upper Neuse:

  • Rolling View boat ramp
  • Buffaloe Road canoe launch
  • Falls of the Neuse canoe launch
  • Hickory Hill boat ramp
  • Barton Creek boat ramp
  • Beaver Dam boat ramp
  • Ledge Rock boat ramp
  • Highway 50 boat ramp


Lower Neuse:

  • Black Beard Sailing Club
  • Slocum Creek boating access area
  • Maple Cypress boat ramp



  • Dinah’s Landing at Good Creek
  • Weights creek boating access area
  • Yankee Hall Road
  • Plum Point (only accessible by boat)
  • Havens Garden boat ramp
  • River Road boat ramp
  • Sunset Park boat ramp
  • Wildwood Park boating access


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