Bathing waters are an important asset to people in Scotland, valuable both for tourism and for the recreational potential that they provide.
It is therefore important that we give them the proper protection which they deserve and which is required under the European Union's current and revised Bathing Water Directives.
These Directives require that water quality at all designated bathing waters meets stringent microbiological standards in order to protect the health of people who choose to bathe there.
For the 2017 bathing season (June 1 - September 15) there are 86 designated sites in Scotland - from Dunnet in the far north east of Scotland to Sandyhills in the south west. At the end of each bathing season, SEPA produce a report on the water quality of Scottish bathing waters. Reports can be accessed on SEPA's website.
All but three of Scotland's designated bathing waters - Luss on Loch Lomond, Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms and Dores on Loch Ness - are salt water. Official bathing waters are spread around a wide area of Scotland, both next to urban areas and in remote rural locations, giving easy access to the majority of the Scottish population.
Keep Scotland Beautiful are responsible for assessing and awarding two types of beach awards to Scottish beach operators, on criteria that includes bathing water quality.
The following pages provide more information on Scotland's bathing waters, including where they are, their compliance, how they are protected, who is responsible and what role the public can play in the process.