An estimated 3.5 million people get sick each year after swimming in natural water bodies containing harmful bacteria and pollution, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On average, after swimming in a natural water source like a lake or a coastal beach, you have an estimated 3%-8% chance of getting sick. Your risk of falling ill depends on a number of factors, such as your age, the health of your immune system, the concentration of contaminants in the water, and the amount of contact you have with the water.

Starting the summer of 2017, Flow Swimmers began collaborating with the University of Montana's Flathead Lake Biological Research Station and the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes on THE SWIM GUIDE PROJECT to sample and monitor the recreational water quality of Polson's three designated swim beaches.  Our goal is to reduce the risk of water-borne illnesses due to open water swimming.


The Swim Guide is a website and smartphone app for iPhone® and Android. It helps you easily find your closest beaches, know at a glance which ones are safe for swimming, and share your love of beaches with friends and family.  Download the free APP here:  THE SWIM GUIDE.


2018 was a wonderfully CLEAN summer for Flathead Lake’s swimming areas in Polson and on the Flathead Indian Reservation!


Thanks to the CSKT Natural Resource Department, Alpine Landscape Design, Glenn Malloy of UBS, The Greater Polson Community Foundation, for supporting The Swim Guide to monitor the recreational water quality of our local swimming areas.  Testing was conducted this summer at Riverside Park, Salish Point, and Boettcher Park, as well as the Tribal swimming beaches at Elmo, Wolf Point, and Blue Bay Campground.


Of the 60-plus tests conducted by the Flathead Lake Biological Station, our beaches passed with a 100% success rate and were “clear for swimming” throughout the summer. With the addition of Volunteer Park (Lakeside), Somers Bay, Wayfarer’s Park, and the Bigfork City Docks, our citizen science program grew to ten total swimming areas and nearly 100 tests by the end of the summer. During the summer, we also received some favorable press:


Daily Interlake



We also showed up on NBC Montana (click the picture to see the TV spot):


NBC Montana Segment



Thanks to our generous sponsors for their support of this important work!

FLOW Swimmers :: Flathead Lake Open Water Swimmers, Polson, MT 59860 :: 406-298-FLOW (3569) ::