Baywatchers are people like you - local residents who love the water and want to do their part to protect it. These "citizen scientists" go out about one morning per week in summer to test key aspects of the water’s health. Baywatchers volunteer at over 200 monitoring stations in 30 major harbors, coves, and rivers across Buzzards Bay - an area covering more than one-quarter of the Massachusetts coast. Visit our Bay Health section to learn more about where Baywatchers test the water.
As part of volunteering, Baywatchers:
- Commit to monitoring at a designated location one morning per week from May to September.
- Attend a training to learn how to collect and test water samples.
- Follow instructions in the Baywatchers kit to ensure accurate measurements.
- Are comfortable working on docks, piers, beaches, and boat ramps at the water’s edge.
The purpose of the program is to:
- Establish baseline water quality in approximately 30 harbors and coves.
- Document long-term trends in water quality.
- Evaluate the success of clean-up efforts.
A program of this magnitude is unique to the Greater New Bedford area and it could not be accomplished without the dedication of volunteer citizens.
The Bay Health Index is the sum of five health indicators: nitrogen (organic and inorganic), dissolved oxygen, algal pigments, and water clarity. Data are combined and reported as a single score that provides a snapshot of a waterway’s health. (Note: The Bay Health Index does not include bacteria and is not an index of swimmability or shellfish bed status.)
The Baywatchers program is focused on nutrients and the effect that excessive nutrient quantities have on the health of the water. All Baywatchers attend a spring training session to learn the proper sampling techniques and receive a training manual, sampling kit, and learn the necessary sampling procedures/protocols. Once properly trained the Baywatcher will then monitor their site once a week between 6:00-9:00 A.M. from May through September. Four times during the sampling season the Baywatcher will also collect water samples that will be analyzed in a Marine Biological Ecosystems laboratory for nutrient concentrations.
- Environmental Education
- Environmental Policy
Good Match For
Teens People 55+
Requirements & Commitment
- Must be at least 16
- Orientation or Training
- 1 - 2 hours per week