ILDSA North Channel Rules

IILDSA North Channel Rules

North Channel Solo and Relay attempts annually June to September

North Channel attempts are only recognised when they start and finish within Admiralty Chart 2198, Southern Part. No other route will be recognised. The route is 18.6 nautical miles (21.5 miles) (35km).

1. Application

Permission for a North Channel are at the sole discretion of the ILDSA Committee and must be applied for through the online process. All applications must satisfy the ILDSA of their competence to make a realistic effort to undertake a successful attempt of the North Channel.

Read the ILDSA Rules for North Channel attempts set out below to see if you meet the criteria required.

Book your North Channel Pilot from the ILDSA Approved pool of escort pilots, agreeing a swim window within the June to September time frame.

Complete the ILDSA North Channel Application Form online submitting the completed Medical Forms, Qualifying forms and payment through the ILDSA online application system. Further supporting evidence and logs will be requested via email after this application has been received.

Swims will NOT be recognised retrospectively.

2. North Channel Qualifying Criteria

2.1 Age

All solo applicants must be must be at least 18 years of age prior to the swim date.

All relay applicants must be must be at least 18 years of age prior to the swim date.

2.2 Medical criteria

Completion of the ILDSA Medical report to include an Echo-Cardiogram (ECG). Upon submission the ILDSA Medical assessment forms and ECG for each swimmer will to be reviewed by an independent medical professional nominated by the ILDSA Committee.

The ECG and Medical assessment are valid for a period of 3 months prior to the swim date. Validity on both cases is nullified if the swimmer has COVID-19; Pneumonia; a cardiac or pulmonary event, or any other major traumatic event after the ILDSA Medical is approved. Failure to disclose any relevant medical history or illness may lead to actions on behalf of the ILDSA to protect the integrity of the North Channel swim.

2.3 Qualification criteria

2.3.1 Solo Swimmer One Way

Completed at least one of the following verified and witnessed swims within 12 months prior to their North Channel attempt.

A 6 hour swim in water of 13°C or below.

Or An 8 hour swim in water 15°C or below.

Or Proof of completion in a recognised Channel Swim in water 13°C or below for a period considered by the ILDSA to be acceptable.

Copies of Independent Observers logs and photographic evidence of water temperature should be included in the application.

2.3.2 Solo Swimmer Two Way

Completed at a successful One Way Crossing of the North Channel

AND

Completed at least one of the following verified and witnessed swims within 12 months prior to their North Channel 2 way attempt.

A recognised channel Swim in water 15°C or below

A 16 hour swim in water of 13°C or below.

A 20 hour swim in water 15°C or below.

Copies of Independent Observers logs and photographic evidence of water temperature should be included in the application.

2.3.3 Relay Swimmers One Way team size 2 – 6 persons

Completed at least one of the following verified and witnessed swims within 12 months prior to their North Channel attempt.

A 2 hour swim in water of 14°C or below.

Or

A 3 hour swim in water of 16°C or below.

Or

Proof of completion in a recognised Channel Swim in water 14°C or below for a period considered by the ILDSA to be acceptable.

Copies of Independent Observers logs and photographic evidence of water temperature should be included in the application.

2.3.4 Relay Swimmers Two Way – team size 2 – 6 persons

Completed at least one of the following verified and witnessed swims within 12 months prior to their North Channel attempt.

4 no. 1 hour swims in water of less than 14℃, with a rest period of five hours between each swim, completed within 3 months of the attempt. Observation is required throughout and all evidence should be time and date stamped.

Or

5 no. 1 hour swims in water of less than 16℃, with a rest period of five hours between each swim, completed within 3 months of the attempt. Observation is required throughout and all evidence should be time and date stamped.

Or

Proof of completion in a recognised 2 way channel swim in water 14°C or below

Copies of Independent Observers logs and photographic evidence of water temperature should be included in the application.

3. North Channel water safety criteria

3.1 ILDSA North Channel Observers

Required to be present for all North Channel swim attempts.

3.2 Pilot escort vessel and crew

Final decisions at all times during the attempt rest with the Pilot on the lead vessel.

3.3 Support Crew

Swimmers must provide their own support crew (minimum of 1 who also must be fluent in English for safety purposes), who are responsible for your wellbeing, but may not interfere with the decisions of the Pilots or ILDSA Observers. *Number of swimmers crew at discretion of pilot.

3.4 One additional swimmer support [by application to ILDSA]

Kayak, canoe, SUP is permitted under the supervision of the pilot but must not interfere with the swimmers’ course or come in to contact with the swimmer. Additional support should have completed an equivalent distance / time on the water to support the swim.

3.5 Other

We strongly recommend you have a beach lifeguard or first aider on board for your safety.

4. North Channel Swim Criteria

4.1 Pre swim preparation:

Water temperature must meet 12 centigrade before attempt can start.

The swimmer is permitted to grease the body before a swim.

Goggles, nose clips and earplugs are permitted.

No GPS wearable devices are permitted this includes GPS/ Tracking watches.

The use of personal electrical audio / communication devices are not permitted.

Any kind of tape on the body is not permitted unless pre-approved by ILDSA.

All swim wear must be made from textile materials, and must be in one or two pieces. Swim wear must not extend past the shoulder or below the knee.

One single layer swimming cap is permitted, and must be made from silicone or latex. Caps may not be made from neoprene or other heat retaining materials.

The ILDSA North Channel Observer shall approve all swim apparel prior to the attempt beginning and prior to each swim rotation in a relay.

No physical contact with the swimmer is allowed, even to pass food, drink or secure items, such as light sticks.

4.2 Starting Position: The swimmer must enter the water from the shore, or from the Pilot boat and swim to beach or rocks with no running sea water behind them and start from there. Under health and safety reasons the Pilot my direct you to start from a standing position with the water level more than waist height. This must be agreed with the ILDSA observer prior to the start of your swim or it may not be ratified.

4.3 Finishing: Swimmers must finish on dry land e.g.: beach or rocks with no running sea water behind them or by touching cliffs with no sea water behind.

4.4 Relay rotations: Relay swimmers (minimum 2 maximum 6) must swim for 1 hour each, in the same order each time. At change over, swimmers shall enter the water from behind the current swimmer and swim past. The swimmer in the water shall exit as soon as possible, with change over taking no more than 5 minutes. The rota (order of swimmers, length of each swim) for the relay team members must be agreed in advance with the ILDSA Observer and must not change. If a swimmer is unable to make their rotation the swim will be discontinued.

4.5 Turning on two way swims: Finish one way as landfall or cliffs depending on location. You may stand or sit for 10 minutes. You may not be touched by any person, but can have grease, food, medical supplies or swim apparel handed to you. This stop time is added to your overall time.

4.6 Support swimmers. Solo swimmers may have support swimmers after the first period of 3 hours has elapsed and for a period of 1 hour. The support swimmer may not re-enter the water until a period of two hours has elapsed. The support swimmer may swim alongside, not in front of, the swimmer. The Pilot may request, at their discretion, the support swimmer to join the swimmer outside of these times for health and safety reasons, e.g. major cramp / water conditions / swimmer safety.

Relay swimmers are not permitted to have support swimmers or pace makers.

4.7 Any adaptations to these rules required for swimmers with additional physical needs, must be agreed in advance with the ILDSA.

5. ILDSA North Channel Observers

5.1 ILDSA North Channel Observers shall be allocated by the ILDSA.

5.2 ILDSA North Channel Observers require a full 12 hour notice of the intended start time of the swim, within the allocated seven day window.

5.3 If you decide on the day not to avail of the slot allocated and deemed suitable by your pilot and the ILDSA North Channel Observer is in attendance you will forfeit all monies paid to the ILDSA and will be required to re-start the application process if you wish to make a further North Channel attempt.

5.4 One ILDSA North Channel Observer is required for EACH WAY of the attempt

1 no. ILDSA North Channel Observer for a 1-way swim

2 no. ILDSA North Channel Observers for a 2-way swim

* Criteria differs for North Channel attempts in special circumstances.

5.5 The ILDSA North Channel Observers will complete an Official ILDSA North Channel Observers Log, which details conditions, incidents, times, food breaks including feed contents, medication taken, water temperature, air temperature, stroke rate and more. A copy of the Official ILDSA North Channel Observers Log will be available to swimmers within one calendar month of the swim being ratified.

6. ILDSA North Channel approved Pilot escort

6.1 Swimmers must satisfy themselves that they have appointed the best escort pilot to suit their needs. The ILDSA cannot be responsible for your route, or any decisions your Pilot makes with or for you. The ILDSA does not offer any training to, or endorsement of Pilots or Agents.

6.2 ILDSA have vetted North Channel Pilot pool. The pilot you choose will have submitted to ILDSA their commercial insurance, licence as stated by MCA and the vessel will be commercially coded as per the MCA regulations. The ILDSA reserves the right to request to view these credentials at any time, your pilot will be required to sign a declaration provided by the ILDSA to confirm they are fully MCA compliant.

6.3 The pilot is fully responsible for your safety and the ILDSA, its officers, its members and observers are not liable for any injury sustained or property lost or damaged whilst participating in your North Channel attempt.

6.4 The pilot will be required to provide the observer with GPS co-ordinates so we can ratify your swim.

6.5 Only one solo swimmer or relay team is permitted to make an attempt with any one Pilot at a time.

7. Code of Conduct

7.1 All swimmers must declare that they have prepared to the best of their ability, having the relevant experience and training regime, abide by international anti-doping policies and have adequate clothing, nutritional requirements and support in place.

7.2 The ILDSA reserve the right to publicise any North Channel Attempts though all forms of media, however as an association we understand and respect your right to privacy. If you would prefer you name not mentioned in any communication, only that we have a relay team in the water, please confirm in writing to the North Channel Secretary a minimum of 2 weeks before your agreed swim window opens.

7.3 Swimmers must declare that they are entering this event of their own choosing and will place no liability on the ILDSA, its officers, Swim Officials, its members or Observers for any injury sustained or property lost or damaged whilst participating in a North Channel Attempt.

7.4 All swimmers must notify the ILDSA if there are any changes to their fitness or ability to participate in a North Channel Attempt.

8. ILDSA North channel attempts in special circumstances

For North channel swim applications in special circumstances please consult ILDSA for specific guidance. There are specific rules for swims October to May and in water 5.1 C to 11.9 C. Please apply to ILDSA.