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Swim Regulations - Rules relating to your Swim

Swim application 'CUT OFF' date

The Secretary is empowered to apply the following scale of additional charges for applications received after the 30th April, providing that no swim will be permitted until one calendar month following registration and that the final cut off date for registration is the 31th August. May £75 June £125 July £200.

Artificial Aids

No person in an attempt to swim the Channel shall use or be assisted by an artificial aid of any kind, but is permitted to grease the body before a swim, use goggles, wear one cap, nose clip, ear plugs and one costume.

Costume' A Standard Swim Costume'

(for both sexes) shall be of a material not offering Thermal Protection or Buoyancy and shall be Sleeveless and Legless : ""Sleeveless"" shall mean the Costume must not extend beyond the end of the shoulder onto the Upper Arm; ""Legless"" shall mean that the costume may not extend on to the Upper Leg below the level of the crotch. We do not cater for wetsuit swimmers unless under medical or religious grounds. These swims are discussed prior to the swim by our Board of Directors and a decision made. Please contact us for more information on this.

Approved Swim Costumes (.pdf)

The hat shall not offer thermal protection or buoyancy. The Observer will have to approve the costume and cap. The Swimmer must make sure their costume and cap are of an approved type before starting, as the Swim will not be recognised if they do not conform.

Light sticks

The swimmer must wear at least 2 light sticks at night. Available from the CSA (see CSA Shop).

For a Swim to be officially recognised

The swimmer must enter the sea from the shore of departure and swim across the English Channel. (• ) to finish on dry land, or (• • ) to touch steep cliffs of the opposite coast with no sea-water beyond. (note: Swimmers may finish in harbour water provided they land as in (• ), or (• • ) PLEASE ACCEPT THAT THERE ARE NO EXCEPTONS TO THIS RULE

For a multiple crossing to be officially recognised

The swimmer must, as soon as his feet touch the ground, land as directly as possible.


He must then return immediately to the water

Where he may stand or sit for up to 10 minutes. During this time he must not be touched by any person, but may be handed food, grease, medicines or swimming apparel to be administered by himself. He must then, in agreement with the Observer, make the most direct and reasonable way towards water deep enough in which to swim, and commence swimming. In all the above conditions, the Observer's ruling will be final, subject to official ratification by the Committee. The time spent before the return swim starts shall be added to the time of the subsequent crossing.

During a Swim

no physical contact with the swimmer shall be made by any person.

The timing of a swim

shall start from the moment the swimmer enters the water until he completes the swim as laid down above

The appointed Observer

shall be in sole charge of the timing of the swim and shall be responsible for observing compliance with the rules, subject to ratification by the Committee

Every application

for recognition of a swim must be accompanied by the Pilot's chart positions and by the Observer's Report, recording incidents, time, tides, method of feeding, etc. The Committee may call for additional evidence if they require it.

Additional Rules for Relay Teams

Relay Teams

May consist of two, three, four, five, six persons, or more - and will be classified accordingly. Team Members' names shall be given to the Official Observer before the actual commencement of the swim. Thereafter there shall be NO substitutions, or alteration of classification.

All Relay Team Members

Must be aged 12 years, or older, on the day the Swim commences and at least 50% of the Team shall be 16 years old, or older, on the day the Swim commences. iia) The CSA resolved on the 5th November 2006 that for teams of less than 6 persons, all members must be over 16 years of age.

'Junior' Relay Teams

Must comprise Six Swimmers aged 12 years or older, on the day the Swim commences, but under the age of 16 years at the completion of the Swim.

In no circumstances

shall more than one team be allowed to make their attempt from the same Pilot Boat

Each swimmer

shall swim for one hour each time he/she enters the water.

On receipt of a time signal

a take-over must be made within five minutes of the ending of the preceding swimmer's leg -and to effect the take-over the new swimmer shall swim up from behind the preceding swimmer.

Team members

shall rotate in the same order throughout the swim.


is forbidden in relay swims.

Breaststroke, Backstroke or Butterfly Swims

For a swim to be considered as a breaststroke, backstroke or butterfly swim the swimmer must: i) Advise the Secretary at least 48 hours before the attempt, ii) at all times throughout their attempt comply with the definition of that stroke as laid down by FINA.

Additional Rules for Solo Swims

The CSA resolved on the 26th November 2000 that Solo swimmers must be 16 years or older on the day the swim commences.

Special Category Swims Rules

Rules as applicable with appropriate derogation of Rules specifically targeted to meet the needs of persons with disabilities.

Non-Standard Channel Swims Rules

Rules as applicable carried out with the appropriate derogation of the rules targeted to meet the requirements of Relay Swims. i) By those wishing to attempt an unassisted swim with an agreed derogation of the Standard rules. ii) By those who become unable (for reasons of prudence) to continue to meet the requirements of the Standard Rules but nevertheless complete their crossing, unassisted, by swimming. As stipulated from time to time by the Board The general rules of the Channel Swimming Association Ltd shall apply at all times.

For clarification, at the 2001 AGM it was agreed that: 'Assisted Swims'/Unorthodox Crossings' carried out by swimming, utilising a non-standard costume or cap, a thermal protection aid, a floatation aid, a propulsion aid, e.g. fins, hand paddles etc, or any other form of assistance.

Banned Drugs / Substances

The Channel Swimming Association is guided by the principles applied by the International Olympic Committee and UK Sport.

Swimmers need to be aware that you may be requested to undertake a drug test at any time up until 24 hours after your swim.

UK Sport website - Drug Free Sport

You are strongly urged to read the advice given on the UK Sport website about athletes using supplements. Detailed advice on this subject is available from their website http://www.uksport.gov.uk

Do not let yourself be caught out. For the most up to date list of prohibited drugs swimmers are recommended to go to: World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
Provides a complete list of banned substances and also enables the user to search for individual active ingredients:

Want to Swim the Channel?

To get started you must first purchase an information and registration pack.

Buy online

Channel Weather

Latest Observations from Sandettie
15 July 2024, 7am

  • - Air Temperature: 17.1°C (62.8°F)
  • - Sea Temperature: 16.6°C (61.9°F)
  • - Wind Direction: SE (135°)
  • - Wind Speed: 8 Knots
  • - Wave Height: 0.2 Metres
  • - Wave Period: 6.0 Seconds

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