Lightship Swims - More Information

Are these swims in the English Channel?
The Varne and Greenwich swims are in the English Channel and the Sandettie and East Goodwin swims are in the North Sea very close to the English Channel.

How many swimmers in a relay?
Between two and eleven, depending on the type of swim and your preference. Please refer to the table below:

Legend

  • All figures quoted are in Pounds Sterling
  • P/p - per person
  • Solo - one swimmer swimming the entire course
  • Single - a single solo swimmer swimming exclusively next to the boat  (no other swimmers)
  • Duo  - two solo swimmers swimming next to the boat 
  • Trio - three solo swimmers swimming next to the boat 
  • Quad - four solo swimmers swimming next to the boat 

What does a Window mean?
This is the number (the range) of days in which your swim is booked. Your solo / relay will swim as soon as it is your turn and the weather is deemed suitable to swim. The weather can be unpredictable in the English Channel / North Sea. So, your pilot will wait until you are very close to the window to notify you of the swim start, this is to ensure that he/she has the best information at hand when deciding which the best day is.


What do Positions in a Window mean?

Position #1 is the first swim offered on any particular window. Position #2 is the second swim etc... 
Bookings are taken on a first-come-first-serve basis. So, the earlier you secure your Position the higher the chance you will be Position #1.

Do tandem swimmers need to swim close to each other?
Yes, these swimmers need to swim within a few metres of each other. For the Varne and East Goodwin swims there will be a tender boat or a kayak accompanying all tandem swims, in addition to the Channel Queen (54ft mother boat), staying on the ocean side of the swimmers to ensure the swimmers do not stray far from the boat. All tandem swimmers need to swim on the same side of the boat. It is highly recommended tandem swimmers practice swimming together ahead of their swims. You can practice tandem swimming at the 2022 Dorset Camp. 

Which swim types get the boat exclusively for their swim?
All relays and single solos hire the boat exclusively for their swim. The tandem swimmers all share the boat.

Do I need to supply the relay team or the other tandem swimmers?
You can bring your own swim buddies or you can ask Chloë to find you buddies. 


Are bookings open for 2023 yet?
No, they aren't. You can register your interest HERE > to be notified as soon they open. 


Do we get a discount off the Dorset 2022 Camp if we sign up to a 2022 Lightship swim?
Yes, solo swimmers do. Varne & Goodwin East receive 25% off and Sandettie & Greenwich solo swimmers receive 50% off. This offer can't be used in conjunction with any other offer. 


What rules must the relay follow to be officially ratified?
You must decide at the time of booking whether you want to swim an unassisted swim (basically English Channel traditional rules in ‘skins’) or an assisted swim where you are allowed to wear equipment as listed by the Marathon Swimming Federation in the links below. 

Swim Rules of Marathon Swimming
Special Swim Types
Standard Equipment of Marathon Swimming
Non-standard Equipment of Marathon Swimming


Can I continue as a solo swimmer if I break a rule applicable to my swim category?
Yes, most likely, but if you finish the swim will be categorised as a Training Swim and won’t be officially ratified.


Can our relay team continue if one or more persons break any of the rules applicable to our swim category?
Yes, most likely, but if you finish the swim will be categorised as a Training Swim and won’t be officially ratified. 


What if one of our relay swimmers wants to pull out of the relay during the swim?
The affected swimmer will have a maximum of 5 minutes to regain their composure (on a maximum of two separate occasions over the course of the relay) to keep swimming. If they exhaust these two options, they as a swimmer will be disqualified from swimming in their relay. The relay will continue, as a Training Swim (it will not be able to be ratified), as long as at least half of that relay are able to continue the relay rotating on the agreed time interval.


How are the prizes allocated?
£3,500 in Prizes is to be awarded as vouchers in the following categories to the first, second and third solo swimmer in each category to complete and have ratified all four Lightship swims with Chloë McCardel's business Swimon Pty Ltd. 'Skins' means swimming unassisted under traditional English Channel rules. Chloë will be swimming all of the Lightship swims solo but will not be eligible for prizes. All vouchers are redeemable for swims with SwimOn Pty Ltd for up to 24 months after the prize is awarded. 

The vouchers will be awarded as follows:

£1000     1st Man & Woman  
£500       2nd Man & Woman 
£250       3rd Man & Woman

All figures below quoted per person in Pounds Sterling and include Observation, Ratification and Administration fees. 

 Solo Swims

 Lightship
Single
Duo
Trio
Quad
Varne
10km
497
297
197
147
East Goodwin
13km 
697
397
247
197
Sandettie
25km 
1497
997
697
N/A
Greenwich 42km 
1997
1497
N/A
N/A
 

Relay Swims 

 Lightship
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Varne
10km
297
197
147
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
East Goodwin
13km 
397
247
197
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Sandettie
25km 
997
697
497
397
347
297
297
297
297
297
Greenwich 42km 
1297
897
647
497
447
397
397
397
397
397
 

Where do we meet the boat before the swim?
The following Ports will be where you will meet the Channel Queen boat and your pilot/s before your swim and is also where you will be dropped off after the swim.

Varne - Port of Dover

Goodwin East - Port of Ramsgate

Sandettie - Port of Ramsgate

Greenwich - Port of Newhaven 

 

Terms & Conditions

On the understanding that placings are allocated on a 'first come, first served' basis, and that it is therefore essential that your booking fee is received before that of the next applicant, Chloë will hold this position for you for a maximum of 72hrs. Your deposit or full swim fee (where applicable, please refer to Point 3 below) will need to be received by Chloë within 72 business hours of her offering you a Window and Position for you to secure that Window and Position. 

1   You need to make yourself available for the whole window, and be prepared to make your attempt at the first opportunity of Chloë's / your pilot's choosing.

2   The only transaction you will need to make with Chloë are: The payment to Chloë of her fees for the booking and provision of Pilotage and Escort Vessels (herself or other Pilot/s, and Crew, and the charter boat 'Channel Queen', and / or other suitable vessel). Payment will also cover swim administration, reimbursement of observer costs and ratification costs.

Your window of dates, swim position and payment fee due will be emailed to you individually.  This fee may allow for escort/return passage people/supporters (see your individual email for specific information), but Chloë and the pilot/s reserve the right to refuse passage to anyone who is unacceptable to her/them or in her/their opinion is unsuited to this journey.

3   Your booking becomes confirmed upon Chloë's receipt of your deposit payment or full payment and is non-returnable and non-transferable. Below is the payment terms for each type of swim. 

Solo Swims (includes single, duo, trio and quads)

a   Varne and Goodwin East; your full payment is due immediately to secure your Position. 

b   Sandettie and Greenwich; your deposit of 50% of the total fee is due immediately to secure your Position. The balance is due six weeks before the first day of your window. If you would prefer to pay in full at the time of booking you are also welcome to do this.

All Relay Swims must be paid in full at time of booking.

4   Should the pilot decide not to commence the swim during the scheduled period because s/he judges weather conditions to be unsuitable, then another swim will be offered to you during a later week after other bookings have been honoured.

5   Should you make yourself unavailable for your crossing Chloë undertakes the right to charge a full fee for your swim.

Chloë and the pilot/s undertake to use all reasonable endeavours to ensure that the escort vessel and crew are fit for the swim, but if the escort vessel is unable to sail or complete the swim due to mechanical breakdown or if the crew are unable to sail or become unable to continue the swim then:-

a  you will be offered another equivalent swim in a later week of the same swim year, once all other bookings are honoured

b  there will be no refund or interest paid

c  in such circumstances Chloë shall accept and bear no liability for any abortive costs or expenses incurred by you for any special indirect or consequential losses or damages.

In addition, you are advised to insure yourself against losses you may incur as a result of your liability to honour your contract, as No refund or fee-waiver will be made if you decide to cancel or abort your Swim, or if the swim is terminated for safety reasons.  Nevertheless, if the swim has started but is subsequently aborted solely because the Pilot and/or a Maritime Authority considers that the proximity of other traffic may constitute a hazard, or as a result of the Pilots decision to offer assistance to another in the case of an emergency, another Swim will be offered to you at half price during that week or during a later week in the same season (in either case, after all other bookings have been honoured), if time still permits, this offer does not extent beyond the current season.

7   If there is or there is forecast to shortly be thick fog the pilot/s will not start a swim and also if thick fog is in the shipping lanes the swim may have to be stopped due to this safety reason, if swimmer and the escort vessel/s drift into the ferry routes the swim may have to be stopped if the authorities believe the any lives or vessels are in danger, which is also a safety reason.

a  The Pilot's decision is final in all matters concerning the safety of the swim and s/he retains the over-riding authority to terminate the swim. Once the swim attempt has stopped or is completed, all passengers will return to the dock they were picked up at on the 'Channel Queen'

b  The fact that notwithstanding the above and whilst we must and do retain the absolute right to terminate the swim Chloë McCardel and her pilot/s and crew do not accept any responsibility for assessing either before or during the swim your fitness to begin or complete the same. IT IS YOUR responsibility to check that you are medically fit to swim and to ensure that you are accompanied on the swim by those medically qualified to assess and maintain your fitness throughout the swim.

c  A doctor’s declaration which verifies that both you and any other swimmer who may take part in the swim (or swim with you for a period as a supporter) enjoy sufficiently good health to undertake this swim must be produced prior to the swim.

d  You must inform Chloë McCardel or, in her absence, the pilot/s of any medical condition that occurs after the presentation of such a declaration.

    8   It is your responsibility to arrange insurances for any period during which you are not being carried as an ordinary passenger (e.g. whilst swimming or otherwise not on an vessel associated with Channel Queen) or if in ill-health as a consequence of your swim.

    9   This arrangement shall be at an end and we shall be released from my respective obligations hereunder in the event of national emergency, war, prohibitive Government regulation- or if any other cause beyond the reasonable control of ourselves renders the performance of this agreement impossible. 

    10 You are being made aware of section 219 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 under which it is an offence “to ride by, make fast to or run foul of any lightship without reasonable excuse”. You understand that you do not have permission to touch and / or board any lightship / lightvessel. Please note that doing so would trigger alarms at a remote monitoring centre which could necessitate the expensive and time-consuming deployment of one of vessels, and in doing so take them away from other safety-related duties. You may be personally liable for any civil or criminal penalties if found to have intentionally touched any lightship / lightvessel. Your pilot will indicate where you can start from which will be in the vicinity of the lightship you have chosen to swim from.

    Swimmers need to be able to communicate in English with the pilots/observers for safety reasons, if swimmers are unable to speak English they need to bring a translator on board with them for the duration of the swim.