The Good Beach Guide has described all four main stretches of beach in Brighton and Hove as recommended.
The top verdict is based on water quality tests off – from the east – Brighton Kemp Town, Brighton Central, Hove and Hove West beaches.
It was the second year running that all four beaches were recommended by the Marine Conservation Society, which publishes the guide, as having excellent water quality.
Two years ago Hove West was the only one of the four beaches to be awarded the highest of the four ratings.
The other three were graded “mandatory” – the third out of four ratings – indicating that they met the minimum requirement for water quality in European law.
In the latest guide Brighton and Hove bucked the national trend – the 2013 guide is based on tests carried out last year.
Fewer beaches around the country were recommended, with the blame being placed on the wet summer last year. Heavy rain and floods were said to have washed pollution from towns and sewers into the sea.
Brighton Portobello beach – east of Brighton Marina – was again untested, according to the guide, which collects data from the Environment Agency and local authorities such as Brighton and Hove City Council.
The beach at Saltdean improved. It was recommended by the latest guide after being described as meeting the minimum legal requirement a year ago. Southwick beach retained its recommended status.
The Marine Conservation Society said that polluted seas could cause swimmers illnesses such as ear, nose and throat infections or gastroenteritis.
The society said that in many places last year the rain and flooding had brought an increase in bacteria and viruses in bathing water.
These had come from many sources such as agricultural and urban run-off, storm waters, dog waste, plumbing misconnections and septic tanks.
It called for better monitoring of overflow pipes which can discharge raw sewage into the sea from sewer networks when heavy rain overloads the system with water from street drains.
It also said that action was needed to cut pollution from farms and towns before 2015 when tougher European rules on water quality come into force.
Coastal pollution officer Rachel Wyatt said that urgent action was needed: “With stricter bathing water standards from 2015 and summers that appear to be getting wetter, the iconic image of people bathing off golden beaches could be at serious risk.
“There is no simple solution to sewage and animal waste reaching our seas.
“However if the water industry, communities and local authorities recognise that there is a problem and begin to work together to find answers that would be a significant start.”