Oceans and Beaches FAQ

Oceans and Beaches Frequently Asked Questions

How can I help clean up the beaches?

Beach clean-up activities may present hazards. If the public is engaged in beach clean-up, they should use caution and consider the following recommendations:

  • Wear steel-toed boots (ASTM with steel shanks to protect from stepping on sharp objects)
  • Wear thick protective gloves
  • Ensure clean-up facilities are available to thoroughly wash up with soap and water, not just hand sanitizer
  • Do not open or touch containers that could hold hazardous materials

How do I know if ocean water is safe?

Ocean water is tested for bacterial levels a minimum of once per week. When the test results exceed the standard levels significantly, the ocean water is closed. If the test results show that the levels are slightly above the standard, a warning is issued. If all of the test results reflect levels below the standards, the ocean waters are open.

Which ocean waters are open now?

Please refer to the Ocean Water Monitoring Program page for the latest updates.

When ocean waters are closed, what does that mean?

Ocean water is not open to any activities such as swimming, surfing or playing in the water. Raw fish and shellfish caught off the pier or near the oceans edge at these beaches should be cooked prior to eating. Ocean water closures do not reflect any changes to the sand on those beaches.

Which beaches have warnings?

Please refer to the Ocean and Beach Safety page for the latest updates.

What are some of the potential health effects of contact with ocean waters which exceed state standards for fecal indicator bacteria?

Potential health effects include respiratory infections, skin rashes, and gastroenteritis.

Contact Office of Emergency Management

4408 Cathedral Oaks Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93110
Phone: 805-681-5526