AUGUSTA, Maine — State officials say the water quality at Maine’s 61 public access beaches, comprising more than 30 miles of the state’s coastline, is the best it’s been since 2008.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection says the good news for beachgoers follows a 2011 season in which more than two-thirds of Maine’s 61 coastal public-access beaches had no water quality issues that led to an advisory or closure. Beaches were open and safe for swimming 98.2 percent of the time last year.

Beaches are monitored weekly by volunteers, municipal staff and state park employees from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Water samples are analyzed for bacteria that suggest the presence of fecal contamination from humans and animals, including dogs and waterfowl.