You know what beaches to go to. You know there's free sunscreen. Now you can find out if the beaches are even open by signing up for text alerts on beach weather conditions, thanks to a program from the NYC Health Department.

2017_05_knowbefore.jpgThe "Know Before You Go" program sends alerts if there are issues with water quality. The Health Department explains, "When water quality is compromised from excessive rain runoff, sewage or other pollution, it can pose health risks to swimmers. Public and private beaches will also post easy-to-read water quality advisory and closure signs at the beach to help make sure all beachgoers are aware of any health or safety risks."

You can text "BEACH" or "PLAYA" to 877877 to get the status of any of the eight public beaches in the city. The public can also sign up for the texts here (messaging rates may apply). The Health Department also has a map showing NYC's various public and private beaches and their status—for instance, some private beaches in the Bronx and Queens have advisories for Enterococci Bacteria."

Also, the Health Department reminds New Yorkers to "check that there is a lifeguard present and always supervise children when near the water’s edge. Remember to protect your skin and use sunscreen to avoid burns. All of the City’s beaches are smoke-free."