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.

Beach Watch tests water quality at 18 swimming sites around the Derwent, while Bay Watch monitors at 21 bays and foreshore reserves. Weekly results are published below, and on the DEP Facebook page. Based on five years of data, the majority of Derwent beaches and bays have been classified as having good or fair water quality.

Swimming in the Derwent is not recommended for several days after heavy rain, and never in the vicinity of stormwater pipes or urban rivulets.

Beach Watch 3 December 2019

Beach Watch map kunanyi / Mount Wellington HOBART New Norfolk Bridgewater Austins Ferry Old Beach Claremont Glenorchy Moonah New Town Lindisfarne Bellerive Howrah Tranmere Rokeby Lauderdale South Arm Sandy Bay Taroona Kingston Blackmans Bay Tinderbox Bridgewater Causeway Bowen Bridge Tasman Bridge Iron Pot North West Bay Ralphs Bay 1. New Norfolk (Fitzgerald Park) 2. Windermere Bay Beach 3. Nutgrove Beach (east) 4. Nutgrove Beach (west) 5. Little Sandy Bay (south) 6. Little Sandy Bay (north) 7. Hinsby Beach 8. Taroona Beach 9. Kingston Beach (north) 10. Kingston Beach (mid) 11. Kingston Beach (south) 12. Blackmans Bay (mid) 13. Blackmans Bay (south) 14. Bellerive Beach 15. Howrah Beach (east) 16. Howrah Beach (mid) 17. Howrah Beach (west) 18. Little Howrah Beach 1. New Norfolk (Fitzgerald Park) 1 2. Windermere Bay Beach 2 3. Nutgrove Beach (east) 3 4. Nutgrove Beach (west) 4 5. Little Sandy Bay (south) 5 6. Little Sandy Bay (north) 6 7. Hinsby Beach 7 8. Taroona Beach 8 9. Kingston Beach (north) 9 10. Kingston Beach (mid) 10 11. Kingston Beach (south) 11 12. Blackmans Bay (mid) 12 13. Blackmans Bay (south) 13 14. Bellerive Beach 14 15. Howrah Beach (east) 15 16. Howrah Beach (mid) 16 17. Howrah Beach (west) 17 18. Little Howrah Beach 18 New Norfolk Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Shower or two Chance of precipitation 60% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Windermere Bay Beach Long term grade Fair Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Nutgrove Beach (east) Long term grade Fair Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Nutgrove Beach (west) Long term grade Fair Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Little Sandy Bay (south) Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Little Sandy Bay (north) Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Hinsby Beach Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Taroona Beach Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Kingston Beach (north) Long term grade Fair Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Kingston Beach (mid) Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Kingston Beach (south) Long term grade Fair Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Blackmans Bay (mid) Long term grade Fair Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Blackmans Bay (south) Long term grade Poor Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Bellerive Beach Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 20% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Howrah Beach (east) Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 20% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Howrah Beach (mid) Long term grade Fair Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 20% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Howrah Beach (west) Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 20% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Little Howrah Beach Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 20% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology
Ref Location Long-term Weekly Result
1 New Norfolk (Fitzgerald Park) Good N/A ?
2 Windermere Bay Beach Fair N/A ?
3 Nutgrove Beach (east) Fair N/A ?
4 Nutgrove Beach (west)
See note below
Fair N/A ?
5 Little Sandy Bay (south) Good N/A ?
6 Little Sandy Bay (north) Good N/A ?
7 Hinsby Beach Good N/A ?
8 Taroona Beach Good N/A ?
9 Kingston Beach (north) Fair N/A ?
10 Kingston Beach (mid) Good N/A ?
11 Kingston Beach (south) Fair N/A ?
12 Blackmans Bay (mid) Fair N/A ?
13 Blackmans Bay (south)
See note below
Poor N/A ✕
14 Bellerive Beach Good N/A ?
15 Howrah Beach (east) Good N/A ?
16 Howrah Beach (mid) Fair N/A ?
17 Howrah Beach (west) Good N/A ?
18 Little Howrah Beach Good N/A ?

Most importantly, DO NOT swim for several days after heavy rain or at any time near stormwater pipes and rivulets.

How to read the results

  • Tick OK for swimming
  • OK OK for swimming, but check weekly result and long-term grade
  • Question mark Retest required or data not available, check long-term grade
  • Cross Swimming not recommended
Special notes

Blackmans Bay (south): Kingborough Council and TasWater are currently investigating possible causes for the decline in water quality at Blackmans Bay Beach (south). Investigations have uncovered several breaches in the stormwater and sewer network and initial repairs have been carried out. Further investigations and ongoing monitoring will continue to ensure that there are no additional sources of contamination. In the meantime, it is recommended that swimming is avoided at the southern end of Blackmans Bay Beach. Water quality remains suitable for swimming at all other beaches in Kingborough.

Understanding results + grades

Long-term grades (based on 5 years of monitoring)
  • GOOD Water quality is usually good for swimming.
  • FAIR Water quality is usually fair for swimming, but occasionally requires retesting.
  • POOR Swimming is not advised.
  • N/A Long-term grade not available (site has not been monitored for 5 years).
Weekly results
  • PASS OK for swimming.
  • RETEST Retest required.
  • FAIL Swimming not recommended.
  • N/A Result not available.
  • Numerical readings represent enterococci MPN (Most Probably Number) per 100 mL.

Bay Watch 3 December 2019

Bay Watch map kunanyi / Mount Wellington HOBART New Norfolk Bridgewater Austins Ferry Old Beach Claremont Glenorchy Moonah New Town Lindisfarne Bellerive Howrah Tranmere Rokeby Lauderdale South Arm Sandy Bay Taroona Kingston Blackmans Bay Tinderbox Bridgewater Causeway Bowen Bridge Tasman Bridge Iron Pot North West Bay Ralphs Bay 1. Old Beach Jetty 2. Elwick Bay Yacht Club 3. New Town Bay 4. Prince of Wales Bay 5. Geilston Bay 6. Lindisfarne Bay 7. Montagu Bay 8. Mid-River Swim 9. Hobart Rivulet (mouth) 10. Regatta Pavilion 11. Victoria Dock 12. Waterman’s Dock 13. Brooke Street Pier 14. Sullivans Cove 15. Marieville Esplanade 16. Kangaroo Bay 17. Brown’s River 18. MONA jetty 19. Berriedale Bay, at MONA 1. Old Beach Jetty 1 2. Elwick Bay Yacht Club 2 3. New Town Bay 3 4. Prince of Wales Bay 4 5. Geilston Bay 5 6. Lindisfarne Bay 6 7. Montagu Bay 7 8. Mid-River Swim 8 9. Hobart Rivulet (mouth) 9 10. Regatta Pavilion 10 11. Victoria Dock 11 12. Waterman’s Dock 12 13. Brooke Street Pier 13 14. Sullivans Cove 14 15. Marieville Esplanade 15 16. Kangaroo Bay 16 17. Brown’s River 17 18. MONA jetty 18 19. Berriedale Bay, at MONA 19 Old Beach Jetty Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Elwick Bay Yacht Club Long term grade Fair Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology New Town Bay Long term grade Fair Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Prince of Wales Bay Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Geilston Bay Long term grade Fair Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 20% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Lindisfarne Bay Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 20% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Montagu Bay Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 20% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Mid-River Swim Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Hobart Rivulet (mouth) Long term grade Poor Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Regatta Pavilion Long term grade Fair Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Victoria Dock Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Waterman’s Dock Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Brooke Street Pier Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Sullivans Cove Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Marieville Esplanade Long term grade Poor Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Kangaroo Bay Long term grade Good Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 20% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Brown’s River Long term grade Poor Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology MONA jetty Long term grade Fair Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology Berriedale Bay, at MONA Long term grade Fair Weekly result N/A Today’s weather Partly cloudy Chance of precipitation 30% Issued 4.10pm, Sat 19 Oct 2019 Source © Bureau of Meteorology
Ref Location Long-term Weekly Result
1 Old Beach Jetty Good N/A ?
2 Elwick Bay Yacht Club Fair N/A ?
3 New Town Bay Fair N/A ?
4 Prince of Wales Bay Good N/A ?
5 Geilston Bay Fair N/A ?
6 Lindisfarne Bay Good N/A ?
7 Montagu Bay Good N/A ?
8 Mid-River Swim Good N/A ?
9 Hobart Rivulet (mouth) Poor N/A ✕
10 Regatta Pavilion Fair N/A ?
11 Victoria Dock Good N/A ?
12 Waterman’s Dock Good N/A ?
13 Brooke Street Pier Good N/A ?
14 Sullivans Cove Good N/A ?
15 Marieville Esplanade Poor N/A ✕
16 Kangaroo Bay Good N/A ?
17 Brown’s River Poor N/A ✕
18 MONA jetty Fair N/A ?
19 Berriedale Bay, at MONA Fair N/A ?

Most importantly, DO NOT swim for several days after heavy rain or at any time near stormwater pipes and rivulets.

How to read the results

  • Tick OK for swimming
  • OK OK for swimming, but check weekly result and long-term grade
  • Question mark Data not available, check long-term grade
  • Cross Swimming not recommended

Please note these locations are not designated swimming sites.

Understanding results + grades

Long-term grades (based on 5 years of monitoring)
  • GOOD Water quality is usually good for swimming.
  • FAIR Water quality is usually fair for swimming.
  • POOR Swimming is not advised.
  • N/A Long-term grade not available (site has not been monitored for 5 years).
Weekly results
  • PASS OK for swimming.
  • FAIL Swimming not recommended.
  • N/A Result not available.
  • Numerical readings represent enterococci MPN (Most Probably Number) per 100 mL.

Important points

Has there been heavy rain in the past few days?

If so, avoid swimming in the Derwent River for several days as beaches are likely to be polluted by storm water. Check back regularly for the latest results.

For swimming event organisers and participants

  • Avoid using sites with ‘poor’ water quality classifications.
  • Develop water quality contingency plans in the event of heavy rain or poor test results.
  • Inform swimming event participants about water quality so that they can decide whether to swim.
  • For more specific information or health advice contact the Department of Health and Human Services by calling the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738, or your local council Environmental Health Officer.

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.

Further information

For sampling results for all sites, and further information about this program see the DEP’s latest Recreational Water Quality report.

Background to the program

Local councils, the Environmental Protection Authority and the Derwent Estuary Program collect water samples from 39 sites throughout the Derwent estuary each Tuesday from the start of December to the end of March.

All samples are analysed at the Public Health Laboratory (New Town) using the Enterolert method, which provides confirmed results within 24 hours of analysis. Results are typically reported between 24 and 48 hours after submission to the laboratory.

Sites are categorised as either Swimming Sites (Beach Watch) or Environmental Sites (Bay Watch):

  • The Swimming Sites are in locations where a significant number of people swim or conduct other primary contact recreation.
  • The Environmental Sites are not designated swimming sites, but are frequently used for secondary contact recreation, have been identified as potential sources of faecal contamination, or are sites associated with major swimming events, such as the Trans Derwent Swim.

Pathogens and health risks

Water contaminated by sewage and animal faeces may contain pathogenic micro-organisms (bacteria, viruses, protozoa) which pose a health hazard when the water is used for primary contact recreation, such as swimming. Infection may occur by swallowing, inhaling or by direct contact of contaminated water with ears, nasal passages, mucous membranes and cuts in the skin, which allow the pathogens to enter the body. The most common health conditions associated with primary contact recreation in contaminated water are gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory illnesses, eye, nose and throat infections and skin disorders.

Monitoring and guidelines

The Recreational Water Quality Guidelines for Tasmania were developed using the National Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Water 2008. The Tasmanian guidelines adopt a three-tiered approach to classifying the long-term quality of a site based on available data. The tiers are:

  • Good: rolling 5-year 95th Hazen percentile value of < 200 enterococci MPN (Most Probably Number) per 100 mL.
  • Moderate: rolling 5-year 95th Hazen percentile value of 200–500 enterococci MPN per 100 mL.
  • Poor: rolling 5-year 95th Hazen percentile value of > 500 enterococci MPN per 100 mL. In this case, water at these sites is considered to be a threat to public health in the event of primary contact recreation, and the particular local council is required to advise the general public and to erect warning signs to this effect.

In addition to long-term site classification, trigger levels have been set to manage public exposure to episodic or emerging water quality issues. If a sample exceeds 140 MPN per 100 mL, the relevant authority is required to re-sample, and if two consecutive samples return a result above 280 MPN per 100 mL, the swimming site must be closed and the public notified. The beach may only be re-opened for primary contact recreation following agreement between the Director of Public Health and Council’s Authorised Officer.

For further information see the Tasmanian Recreational Water Quality Guidelines and our national Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Water.