Swimming water categories and profiles

The quality of Helsinki’s swimming waters is monitored during the swimming season. Each beach has a swimming water profile that contains information about the beach and the risks potentially affecting the quality of swimming water.

There are four categories for beaches’ water quality: excellent, good, satisfactory and poor. If the water quality deteriorates enough to be classified as satisfactory or poor, authorities will survey the factors affecting the quality of water and decide on possible measures and swimming restrictions.

See the swimming water categories of Helsinki beaches from 2011 to 2022 (pdf)

Factors affecting the quality of swimming water

Natural waters normally contain small amounts of faecal microbes from sources such as soil, birds and aquatic animals.

Swimming water is never drinkable, but it is safe to swim in if the amount of bacteria is low. If the amount of bacteria increases, swimmers have a higher risk of getting sick from the swimming water.

For example, Escherichia coli bacteria and intestinal enterococci can cause symptoms such as intestinal infection and stomach disease if swallowed. Water samples are taken regularly from the beaches in Helsinki to check the level of these bacteria.

Blue-green algae or cyanobacteria are present in Helsinki's swimming water. They can cause toxic symptoms, such as nausea, fever or skin issues, in humans and animals.

For more information about the water quality of beaches, send an email to: kymp.uimavesilaatuvalvonta@hel.fi(Link opens default mail program).

Swimming water profiles

Statutory swimming water profiles have been established for public swimming areas.

The profiles contain general information on the beach, the equipment and services available at the beach and the use of the beach. In addition, swimming water profiles provide more detailed information on the quality of swimming water.

No swimming water profiles are established for small public swimming areas.