Long Distance OW Swim



  • You can only have one team per boat.  The boats aren't big enough to get two teams on, and it is considered unsafe for more than one swimmer to be in the water at a time as it is harder for the swimmers to stay together (they would have to be exactly the same speed).  It also complicates things in an emergency situation if one swimmer needs to be pulled out.

    It is possible to get a cancellation slot at short notice.  Generally this is difficult to do because of the hoops you have to go through with the paperwork (qualifiers, medicals and also most people don't have that sort of money laying around), so timescales usually prevent it.  However, someone like Dee organises a lot of teams and will have a good relationship with the pilots so they might trust her to do things a less conventional way.

    The general procedure is:

    • Pay £250 holding fee when you book the boat.  This can be done months or years in advance
    • Pay £750 deposit in December to the pilot.  You also have to complete the booking form at this time, but they will allow you to confirm the team members at a later date
    • Between Jan and April all team memebrs need to get a medical form completed by their GP.  This typically costs between £20 and £100 depending on the GP
    • Around April the fees to the authorities have to be paid.  I think this comes to between £250 and £500 for the team if my memory serves me correctly.  This gets you registered with the officials and pays for an independent observer to witness your attempt.
    • All team members have to do a qualifier swim of 2 hours (6 hours for soloists) in water below 16 deg C.  This can be in the sea, a river or an unheated lido.  The limiting factor here is that it needs to be done before the water warms up, which is usually around June.
    • Six weeks before the swim the paperwork for the qualifier has to be received by the office and the pilot needs to remainder of the money, which is £1500

    The T&Cs are slightly different depending on the pilot and whether you are with the CSA or the CS&PF, but the general guidelines are much the same.

  • Thanks Caz.  I'll talk to her about it on Sunday.  I daren't add up all the numbers you've sited...

  • Its between £2500 and £3000 for the team.  Divide that by the number of swimmers to get an idea of the cost

  • Sounds in line with what Dee was saying.  You know Alice Hubbard, don't you?  She's due to do her solo this weekend!


  • Hey folks - spotted this forum by accident and then noted you chatting about the channel relay next year. My eldest daughter has been invited to swim as part of a 6 swimmer scottish team - she is doing her qualifier this weekend as part of the Scottish east districts open water competition - she plans to swim the 4k event and then go around again with the organisers confirming her total swim time. Average temp is currently around 12-15deg in the lochs at the moment.

  • Hen, I was about to say that Alice isn't going until September... but it is September!

    Welcome hipster!  Good luck to your daughter

    Can I just say that there are a lot of other long distance events, other than the Channel.  I don't want this to become a Channel swimmers thread where we pooh pooh everyone who only wants to do shorter distances, as is the case with other threads.  My definition of long distance is anything over a mile or two.

  • Hope your daughter goes well Hipster.

    I got a bit of chaffage from the neck of my wetsuit on Sunday. Hasn't happened before - but then I haven't swum that distance in the sea with it without  a rashvest before.  Could it have been salt?  I became aware of it after about 20 mins.

  • In other news I have a 5k lake swim on Saturday.  image

  • Swimming in wetsuits/ - my kids would call that wimpish image Open water comps do not allow wetsuits - they have to use fina approved swimsuits only which makes the challenge all the more difficult in Scotland. Forth crossing being swum this afternoon approx 6pm for anyone in or around Edinburgh who wants to watch an amazing open water swim - they battle sea water, tides, sharp seaweed, jellyfish and the occasional tanker or container ship while swimming from South Queensferry to North Queensferry. Water temp for this afternoon expected to be 13-14deg.

  • Sounds... lovely, Hipster.

    Alice Hubbard is into her 11th hour. Apparently the sea is very rough and it looks to me like she's slowing. However, it also looks like she's definitely turned for the coast now.

  • She did it! 13:55. image
  • Well done Alice!

  • Just back from a 6.5 mille swim in the Ouze.  A new route for all of us so we took it very carefully so that we could suss out any hazards and potential exit points in case of emergencies.  Very scenic route and the water was crystal clear.

  • Crystal clear sounds great. Haven't manged a proper ow swim but have been in the local lido (50m). Local pool is quite claustropobic in comparison.

  • Agree - crystal clear is wondrous.  And 6.5 miles is pretty wondrous, too! Sounds like your new gang are a good find.

    Bos - at least a lido is better than a pool, even if it isn't OW.

    In other news I did my first race on Saturday and *drumroll* I was second female vet!  I nearly spat my coffee out when they said my name.  I know it's shallow of me but getting a prize has given me a boost and has made me feel enthusiastic for more swimming.


  • Well done AH, it's always a boost to win a prize image

    I won a race on Saturday as well, but it was for running.. it will be a while before i win any prizes for swimming image

  • It'll be the 1st of Never before I win a prize for running!

  • Well done on the race results.

    AH, no need to feel shallow. definately something to put on the cv!

    Have been to the lido a few more times, water temp definately dropping. Just a chap in a wet suit and me in the pool yesterday, overlooked by two lifeguards. Did a nice relaxed 90 minutes, only stopped because time was up.

  • Sounds fabulous.  Am v. jealous of the peace and quiet.  I think that's what I like about swimming in OW when it's calm.


  • I'm off down to Cornwall tomorrow for the Festival of Sport.  I've only entered the 10k swim as the prices were a bit high for multiple events but I am camping all weekend.

  • Oooh - dying to hear what the FoS is like, Caz.  Looks a lovely event.  Esp if it's sunny and calm.  Have a great swim.  10k must seem pretty doable at the mo for you! 


  • The FoS sounds great. Am more than a little bit jealous

    It's really not fair that the sea is so far away ...

  • Well FoS didn't happen.  I felt rough at work, so came home and fell asleep.  When I woke I felt properly ill so decided that a 6 hour car journey wasn't a good idea.

    Feeling better today but seriously lacking in energy

    I will be putting my name down for next year though, when entries open.

  • Pity about FoS, but sometimes stuff happens and rest is necessary.

    Went to indoor swim pool on Sat. It was far too hot and felt nauseous after 5 minutes (couple of earlier lattes may not have helped). I dont think I have turned into a hard core OWer, after just a few dips in an unheated outdoor pool, but I find I am more sensitive to temp. At last, I am a sensitive human being!

  • http://www.festivalofsport.net/individual-entry.aspx?dm_i=14EX,YJ15,5JH12X,2VXMD,1

    Entry for the FoS next year.  Prices are discounted if you enter before the end of October.  I'll be entering as soon as I get some money.  The feedback from my friends was that it was a great event.  It would be nice to get a few more people there next year... possibly even a Pirate outing?

  • I'll bookmark it, but will need to get a bit more money in the bank before I commit.

  • Aww SC what a shame you missed it.  I might well be in next year as I know when it is and can stop off in my hometown on the way; not so far from there to Marazion.


    I noticed that my leisure centre is running a swim technique course soon, need to find out when it is but looks like a reasonable price depending on who's actually running it.

  • Hi all just found this thread, great to hear so many people enjoying swimming. Just done my last open water swim at Pennington flash tonight, very cold. Most people seem to be from down south, but for all you northers a great event is the utterly buttermere swim n the lake district, cleanest water I have ever swam in. I did the 5k in 1 hour 39. They run a 1.5k,5k and a 10k swim.
  • I did the OSS River Dart 10K on Saturday. A pretty well organised event, bit of a queue to register, but everyone got through on time & it all got underway on schedule. Although not strictly a race, chip timing was a nice addition.

    No chance to acclimatise, race brief & then the off, walk over the timing mat & in via the boat club steps & off you swam. Quite good in that for the early big starting waves there was no start line scrum & none of the normal starting biff on the off.

    The water was pretty cold, officially

  • Officially pretty cold, i like it image I was surfing on Saturday and the water was easily the warmest i've been in all year. I was swimming in a lake 3 days earlier and it was easily the coldest!

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