Recreational Waters: Bathing Beaches

Training Overview

There are over 1,000 public and semi-public bathing beaches (referred to as “beaches” for the purposes of this training) in Massachusetts. This includes both freshwater (lakes) and marine (ocean). The water quality of these beaches is important to public health and safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2011-2012 there were 90 recreational water-associated health outbreaks that resulted in at least 1,788 cases and 95 hospitalizations. Through a coordinated effort, federal, state, and local public health agencies established a framework to protect the health, safety, and well-being of beach users, and to prevent waterborne disease. Local boards of health (LBOH) are required to monitor beaches’ water quality, notify the public when bathing water quality doesn’t meet the regulatory standards, and work in partnership with operators to ensure the minimum standards for beaches are met.

Enroll To receive a certificate of completion. This requires registration to establish a learner profile and completion of pre- and post-tests
Course Table The Audit function is no longer available. However, all job aids are still available for viewing via the course table.

What you’ll learn

After completing this training, you will be able to:

  • Describe three sources of contamination and two safety hazards that may be present at beaches
  • List the three directives of the Massachusetts Beaches Act
  • State the purpose of 105 CMR 445.000 (445)
  • List three requirements of Christian’s Law
  • Summarize four LBOH functions to ensure beaches comply with 445
  • Give two examples of LBOH activities that promote the health, safety, and well-being of beach users

Subject Matter Experts

  • Michael Celona
    Environmental Toxicology Program, Water Toxics Unit Chief
    Massachusetts Department of Public Health


This training was supported by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) with funds made available by the Grant Number CFDA #93.069 and #93.889, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services.
This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UB6HP20150 “Public Health Training Center”. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.