Proposed features/Reworking leisure=bathing place

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Reworking leisure=bathing place
Status: Voting (under way)
Proposed by: Gruebel
Tagging: leisure=bathing_place
Applies to: nodearea
Definition: Place used for bathing and swimming, either official or informal. Mostly with an adjacent area to relax.

Drafted on: 2021-06-02
RFC start: 2021-06-03
Vote start: 2021-06-22
Vote end: 2021-07-06


The tag leisure=bathing_place describes a "Public place where you can freely bath in nature". It differs from amenity=public_bath by not having facilities.

The idea is to rework leisure=bathing_place. Since at the moment it describes only public marked places. This use is small, because there are only few public places that do not fall under amenity=public_bath. Besides, it is hardly mentioned in the wiki and is thus very rarely used (only 365 on 02.06.2021).

Therefore the tag is extended with the subtag informal=* to describe the type. There are two types:

  • leisure=bathing_place
    • The place is official and is managed by the municipality or others. Some sort of sign should be present. However, it differs from amenity=public_bath. Since it does not have facilities such as showers or changing rooms. This is the current use of leisure=bathing_place.
  • leisure=bathing_place + informal=yes
    • The place is informal when it is not managed and therefore is not signed. But the place is already used by people for bathing and/or swimming! And the majority of outdoor swimmers would go inside the water. Also, you should reach the place with low effort, so a road or a path should pass nearby.

When to map:

When talking about informal (informal=yes) bathing places, theoretically any spot with water could be tagged. Thus, such bathing places must meet at least the following conditions to be verifiable:

  • It is important that the place is already used as such! And would be used by the majority of outdoor swimmers!
    • This tag is not for places where the mapper thinks: "This would be a nice spot for a bathing place". But the place must already exist and be in use!
  • Entering the water must not be prohibited, as in most reservoirs or directly below dams. In addition, the owner should not have prohibited access, for example with signs like "Private property" or "Trespassing prohibited" or a barrier of some type.
  • Nearby there must be water of a certain size:
    • It should be possible for min. two persons to completely submerge under water (sit or lie) and still move (not walk). This ensures that the bathing area is larger than a bathtub.
    • Places on water with the tag intermittent=yes should not be mapped.
    • As the name suggest it is a bathing place, so swimming must not be possible but can be possible. In the case that it is possible, add sport=swimming.
  • Further points:
    • It should be easy to enter the water. For example, through a visible path.
    • The water should be clean (no waste water, temporary pollution caused by flooding, ... is no problem) and the vegetation should be low enough to avoid
    • The place should not be dangerous for life (below dams, large rivers with strong current, ...)
    • At large beaches it is also clear you can bath (next to a ocean or big lake). Here it should not be tagged! Also the natural=beach tag already has fitting subkeys.
      • If the beach is small or the size of the bathing place is bigger than the beach itself, leisure=bathing_place should be mapped separately.
    • In the discussion page was asked about physical evidence. Normally if a place is used as an informal bathing place there should be paths and other marks that indicate that the place is used.
    • Like all other features, the space should be available for a longer time (Good practice).


The tag should be revised, because at the moment it is drowned between the other tags. So, it has to be referenced on other pages and get an improved page itself. I searched for a long time how to map these places and did not come across this lost tag.

Why map informal bathing places?

Informal bathing places should be mapped because they are real places that are already used as such. With the conditions mentioned above, it should be clear that these points are not made up out of thin air, but really exist.

Also it is very nice for visitors of the area to know there they can easily bath, for example in natural rivers or lakes.

After some time they could not be used anymore. Then they should be removed (like if a official place is closed). This should be clear as the conditions mentioned above are not fulfilled anymore. If the water changes the position of the bathing place it should be moved like any other feature.

Why not just add natural=beach?

In the section about "When to map:": "If the beach is small or the size of the bathing place is bigger than the beach itself leisure=bathing_place should be mapped separately." This allows individual small beaches to be combined into one larger bathing place. In addition, the boundaries of the relaxation area can be captured more clearly. It is also made clear that this beach is a bathing place. As already described in "When to map:" this is implicitly clear for large beaches and thus not needed and should not be mapped.

Also, there are several areas where natural=beach is not appropriate: Many bathing places do not have the surface of a beach, but perhaps grass or bare rock. natural=beach has the surface=* subkey, but there is no grass, meadow, ... The definition for beach in the wiki is "landform along a body of water which consists of sand, shingle or other loose material". Besides, it can only be an access to water, and no beach present.

There are also many beaches where bathing is prohibited. Although these beaches could be provided with an access=no or similar, this will probably not reach the user of the map. A clear tag with "here is an (informal) bathing place" makes much more sense and is more clear. In addition, it can be made clear which (small) beaches really serve as an (informal) bathing place, as already mentioned.


Tagged should be the area on which you can sit or lie. This should then also be tagged with natural=beach or landuse=grass, landuse=meadow, natural=bare_rock, ... The water itself should not be included.

If the size of the water is small (small river) and the relaxation area is on both sides of the river than it should be mapped as one feature with the water inside.

If it is not possible to map the relaxation area. The node should be guessed in the approximated middle of the area and relaxation_area=yes should be added.

If no area is present, only the access to the water should be marked with a node and relaxation_area=no should be added.

If a leisure=swimming_area (officially designated marked place where you can swim, with signs and/or buoys) is present it should also be mapped. Informal bathing places (informal=yes) can not have such an area as it would make it official (see wiki page of leisure=swimming_area).

Tags to use in combination

informal=yes/no - no is the default value

relaxation_area=yes/no - if there is an area you lie next to the water, or it is just a place to easily access the water ("yes" is implied if the object is drawn as an area)

name=* - if available

sport=swimming - if swimming is possible

water_source=* - which type of water is present

fee=yes/no - for official bathing places. Normally, no entrance fee should be paid. Thus, the default value is fee=no.

Other useful combinations

nudism=* - for both informal=yes/no. Either the operator makes the rules or locals.

Tags from leisure=swimming_area if no swimming area is present:



The rendering symbol should depend on the subkey:

leisure=bathing_place also should get an outline like other leisure=* tags (for example leisure=sports_centre). The area should not be filled in or at least is not drawn above natural=beach, landuse=grass, ...

Features/Pages affected

External discussions


Please comment on the discussion page.


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  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. Adding a new key to an ill-defined, little-used, tag does not make it any better. --voschix (talk) 10:07, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
I think it makes the tag much better. Since the two types of places are very similar and thus the same main tag makes sense. Also the wiki page is rewritten so it is no longer poorly defined. Also the number of places that fall under both types is sufficient to define such a main tags. --Gruebel (talk) 10:33, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • I abstain from voting but have comments I have comments but abstain from voting on this proposal. 1. please note that a sign "private property" does not necessarily prohibit entering the area, it depends on the jurisdiction, while "no trespassing" is clearer (if the owner has the right and has prohibited entering or bathing, you should generally refrain from mapping it as bathing place, 2. although in some instances it may be better (or not?) to add something like "access=customers" (e.g. a camp site with a private bathing spot). 3. I think it should also be made clearer that this tag is not suitable or thought for swimming pools (which have their own tag) and 4. what you mean by "no facilities" (what about a bar that is next to the bathing place, does not operate it, does not own it, admittance is free, but they might offer, maybe formally "unrelated", a changing room or lounge chairs for rent or operate a parking which requires a fee (i.e. there are facilities and services relating to and near a free, public bathing place). 5. Why is there mention of "Mostly with an adjacent area to relax."? Is the area required or not? 6. You are giving 2 short definitions: "Place used for bathing and swimming, either official or informal. Mostly with an adjacent area to relax." and "Public place where you can freely bath in nature", of which I find the second much clearer. 7. I also find it interesting you are proposing to have a bathing place composed of several beaches, I would have rather expected it the other way round, have several bathing places on the same beach. 8. Generally this is also thought for bathing places by the sea? 9. The proposal also states: "Tagged should be the area on which you can sit or lie.", is there a limit how far this reaches in the hinterland? 10. In case the area for bathing is separated by some meters of scrub from the area where people lie or sit, we would tag some place on land and seperated from what I would have expected, as "bathing place", rather than the actual spot where people are bathing? --Dieterdreist (talk) 10:09, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
It would be nice if these points could have been discussed in the discussion before the voting. 1. not always but in general. That's why it says "signs like". 2. access=customers would make sense. 3. to be honest thought that would be clear. But it can always be added. 4. yes then it is still a bathing place if the bar has nothing to do with it. 5. an extra area is not needed. Some places consist only of an access to water and have no lawn, ... in the vicinity. 6. for me these definitions say similar. The second is the old and much weaker. Here places in the nowhere could fall under it, where you could bathe but it is not done. 7. as mentioned, the tag should not be used for large beaches, because this is implicitly a bathing place. If many small beaches are at a lake and a meadow to relax surrounds it, is one feature much more useful than many small. 8. only if the beaches are very small. 9. as far as they are used as such places. 10. that is true, but the name of the tag should say what the important thing is. --Gruebel (talk) 10:55, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. These tags will not be verifiable by other mappers. If there is no physical evidence such as a sign or steps or a ramp into the water, then how is another mapper to confirm that there is a real, current bathing place at the location? Natural streams and lakeshores change with each season, and a nice beach or swimming hole may disappear the next year. There needs to be objective criteria for this tag. --Jeisenbe (talk) 14:21, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
Yes such a tag would hardly be verifiable. But it is not about nice bathing places but places that are already used as such. This leaves traces and moreover is clear for people on site whether the place is used as such. --Gruebel (talk) 14:26, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. In most countries all waters are bathing places, freely accessible unless signposted as private, prohibited or forbidden, even used for washing. Those places can be appropriately tagged with attribute keys as hazard=* and a signpost tag, the opposite of what you propose. Perfectly verifiable.--Bert Araali (talk) 14:24, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
This tag is not about places that make a nice place but those that are already used as such. And would be used by a majority of outdoor swimmers.--Gruebel (talk) 14:28, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
In many places the water quality is so bad that people are not advised to bath. --Dieterdreist (talk) 15:23, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. --AntMadeira (talk) 23:23, 22 June 2021 (UTC)