Beach watch

Sign indicating good water quality

Summer monitoring

The beach watch monitoring program for the summer 2016-17 finished on 28th March 2017. Next season's monitoring will commence in early December 2017. 

Swimming in the Derwent

Hobart area residents are fortunate in having easy access to a variety of safe, sandy beaches within 20 minutes of the CBD. This is increasingly rare for a capital city and adds greatly to our quality of life.

Swimming and other water sports such as small boat sailing, rowing, windsurfing and water-skiing are also enjoyed at sites up and down the estuary.

Monitoring and Guidelines

Each summer, water quality is monitored weekly at over 30 sites around Derwent estuary by councils and the State Government. If levels of the bacterial indicator enterococci exceed a set trigger level, beaches are re-sampled. If the levels remain high, beaches will be closed and the public notified. Results are provided on our website, and in our regular Report Cards and State of the Derwent Reports. This information is also used to determine the suitability of each site for swimming, and to develop and update the signs that are displayed at all major swimming beaches.

Water Quality at Derwent Swimming Beaches and Bays

Based on the DEP's monitoring most of the Derwent's popular swimming beaches receive either good or fair grades, with the best water quality measured at Hinsby Beach, Fitzgerald Park at New Norfolk, Taroona, Blackmans Bay, Kingston Beach (middle), Little Howrah Beach, and Little Sandy Bay (south) (see map).

Water quality is poor at Nutgrove Beach (west end), and it is also poor in several bays: Cornelian Bay, Marieville Esplanade, at Orange Pavilion (GASP), and Watermans Dock. Urban rivulets such as Hobart Rivulet and Browns River also have poor water quality. Swimming and other 'full immersion' activities are not recommended at any of these sites.

Check our Water Quality page for more information about what the DEP and its partners are doing to manage and improve water quality.

What You Can Do

  • Pick up after your dog
  • Don't feed the ducks and geese
  • Be aware of where and when you swim. Avoid swimming in the Derwent for several days after rain and don't swim or allow children to play in or near stormwater drains or urban rivulets.

Pied Oyster Catcher (Haematopus longirostris) by Dave Watts

Restoring and promoting the Derwent estuary