Beaches around Auckland are not as safe or clean as they once were. While the problem of water pollution is a significant concern to New Zealand’s scientists, it’s difficult to effectively communicate these issues to the public.

Safeswim provides the public with real-time data on health and safety hazards at almost 100 beaches and fresh water sites, including shark risks, ocean rip tides and water contamination, plus information about facilities and tide times. By checking Safeswim, people can stay out of unsafe water and keep tabs on Auckland’s water quality.

Safeswim has been instrumental in raising awareness of water quality issues at Auckland’s beaches. This led to increased public and political support for improvements and aided a successful mayoral bid in 2018 for additional funding to address water safety.

Project Details

Auckland Council, Surf Lifesaving Northern Region, Watercare, Auckland Regional Public Health Service

  • Brody Nelson - Project Manager
  • Kyle Hickey - Lead Designer
  • Gustavo Bezerra - Lead Developer
  • Project management
  • Workshops
  • Community engagement
  • Graphic communications
  • $425 million added to the Council water budget
  • Over 250,000 website visits during the first summer season
  • National and international press coverage
  • Growth in public concern over water quality

Project brief

  • Inform and educate the public about water quality and swim safety at Auckland beaches using digital technology
  • Design a framework for presenting information that’s easily accessible and navigable to all members of the Auckland public
  • Work with Auckland Council and Surf Lifesaving to ensure that all goals are met within a regulatory framework
  • Connect, store, manage and display data from multiple collection points
  • Raise public awareness about water quality and its connection with health, arming Aucklanders with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their coastline


  • Customer-facing water forecasting tools designed and built • UX/UI design
  • Visual language designed to communicate water quality and safety messaging • Brand identity design
  • Third party data sources linked, combined and curated  • API development & integration
  • Data warehouse designed and built • Solution architecture
  • Nation-wide rollout of the project prepared for; platform ready to scale • Innovation consulting
  • Digital signs in eleven locations around Auckland designed, built and managed, including one interactive and multilingual sign • Digital signage


  • Integration with American Signal Corporation to develop an automated tsunami alerting system
  • Forecast data warehousing and reports
  • Integration with Moata to retrieve water quality, wind, tide and water temperature data
  • Automated alert system for overflow events
  • Automatic data updates for beach and forecast information


  • $452 million added to the Auckland Council water budget partly due to Safeswim identifying and highlighting Auckland’s water quality issues
  • Clear shift in public sentiment to support investment in water quality initiatives, with around 70% of Aucklanders supporting the increased rate
  • Over 250,000 website visits during Safeswim’s first summer season
  • Widespread public interest resulting in Safeswim being covered by national and international press
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