Isle of Wight Bay Wade-In, Sat.

Isle of Wight Bay Wade-In, Sat.

(July 25, 2014) Join Assateague Coastal Trust in celebrating clean water tomorrow at the third annual Isle of Wight Bay Wade-In and second annual Race for Swimmable Bays.

Participants wade into Isle of Wight Bay last year during Assateague Coastal Trust’s second annual wade-in to see how far they can walk before losing sight of their feet. The “sneaker test” is an informal measure of water quality that helps engage citizens with their local waterways and water quality. (Photo courtesy of Assateague Coastal Trust)

The local event is part of Swimmable Water Weekend, a global celebration of clean water and protection for waterways with events in more than 20 countries around the world, July 25-27.

“It’s a fun way to help people think about what impacts our local waterways,” said Assateague Coast keeper Kathy Phillips.

Events here kick off at 10 a.m. at the Isle of Wight Nature Park off Route 90 on St. Martin Neck Road, midway across the bridge from Ocean City. Guests will take part in an informal water quality check before taking to the water with inflatable toys for the “Blow it up for Clean Water” Race for Swimmable Bays.

The wade-in is a basic measure of water quality based on how deep participants can walk into the water and still see their feet, Phillips said. It’s based on Maryland State Sen. Bernie Fowler’s “Sneaker Index” he created 20 years ago to involve citizens in clean water.

Last year, ACT added the Race for Swimmable Bays to the wade-in event, drawing about 25 participants with inflatable toys into the water and around a short course, which featured Phillips as a “buoy” last year.

She hopes the second annual race with draw even more participation.

“That was just a blast last year. We had adults and kids in the water swimming and doing this race,” she said. There will be trophies for first through third place.

Guests can bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the afternoon at Isle of Wight Park. Participants should also bring sunscreen and water shoes.

Those who can’t make Saturday’s events can still participate in Swimmable Water Weekend by visiting a local waterway July 25-27, taking a photo in the water and posting it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #SwimmableWater.

“It’s a great excuse to get in the water, splash around and have a good time— and enjoy that we can do that, because in some places around the world, water quality is too poor to go swimming,” Phillip said. “This is a great way to get people to really appreciate what we have here.”

Join her and Assateague Coastal Trust tomorrow, Saturday, at 10 a.m. at the canoe launch near the Isle of Wight Park entrance on St. Martin Neck Road off Route 90 for the annual Isle of Wight Bay Wade-In and Race for Swimmable Bays. Parking is available onsite a short walk from the launch.

Visit www.actforbays.org to learn more about Assateague Coastal Trust and its other projects and events.

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