What should I know about the 4.4 mile swim?

Swimmers will leave the Sandy Point State Park beach in two waves, roughly 15 minutes apart. They will enter the bridge spans between the two big beach ball buoys, follow the spans, and exit between the other two big beach bouys near the end of the bridge, to follow the jetty to the beach at Hemingway’s.

There are numbers on each bridge pylon, and they are different on the north and south sides. If you need to provide location, use those numbers and be sure to specify north or south.

All kayaks should line up at the start to guide the swimmers in (between pylons N10 & N13), and then break off to provide coverage as the swimmers span out. The general rule for kayak coverage is, if you see other kayaks, keep paddling until there are swimmers and no kayaks. If you run out of swimmers, turn around and see if there are any gaps.

With that said, the slower swimmers are ones that usually need the most help. There is no hard and fast rule; if the rest of the Safety Fleet notices a gap, they will tell us and we will react accordingly. If you see a gap, and have a VHF radio, call it out on channel 69.

The only possible hard and fast rule is, we cannot give individual support to a swimmer. Unless, of course, they are showing signs of duress or stress, at which point we make sure they’re OK.

Swimmers must stay within the spans. If they exit due to any reason (unplanned is usually because of currents overwhelming them), they get disqualified and have to be pulled out. The most common interaction with a swimmer to date has been telling them to turn, because they really can’t see where they’re going when they’re 110% focused on swimming.

We always need four strong kayakers to keep station by the main bridge pylons with the wood slats in the center of the bridge, to make sure swimmers do not get too close and try to hold on. That’s a recipe for injury or worse, if swimmers get stuck there due to wave action.

There are big orange mile markers to help determine how much farther swimmers have to go, at miles 1, 2, 3, and 4.

There are food boats (the only propeller’d craft allowed inside the spans, only because they’re anchored) at miles 1.5 and 3, for swimmers to get a snack or drink. They frequently ask how far it is to them, so if possible, try to keep track of where you are in relation to miles 1.5 and 3.

Swimmers exit the bridge spans between pylons S55 & S57 and then follow the jetty to the Hemingway’s beach.

When it’s time to exit the water, be sure to stop by the DNF pier and hand in the numbered wrist band given to you at the briefing, and exit the water via the floating dock by the boat lift, on the far right corner of the marina as you’re entering it from the Bay.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *