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You can select different categories of FAQ by clicking across the headings 

  • What are the age limitations on the day?
    All ages are your age on the day of the race, not at time of booking. Ages 8 to 12 are in the Nippers Race - parents need to be on the Island, or can be on the water chaperoning their child. However they must not offer any physical assistance. Ages 13 to 15 are in the Youth Race - parents must be on the island, but cannot 'follow' their child, the child needs to be sea confident and happy swimming the full 300m without needing to stop. Anyone ages 16 or 17 can join into the full Burgh Island Swim, with the presence of a parent in the water swimming along side, and they must always remain together.
  • What is the difference between a mass and trickle start?
    The Mass Start for the Race Entry, all swimmers will head out into a line/group along the causeway, when the whistle is sounded everyone starts at the same time. The Trickle Start for the Charity Entry is more relaxed, swimmers head down the slipway in single file, across the timing mat, and enter the water and start a few at a time.
  • Where do the races start and finish?
    BURGH ISLAND We start and finish on the slipway on Burgh Island - meaning you will need to be on the island to start. You swim around, and finish on the Island again before enjoying a BBQ, trophy ceremony etc THURLESTONE ARCH We start on Leas Foot Sand, on the right hand side (when looking out to sea). The finish is on the same beach.
  • Can spectators watch and how do they get access?
    BURGH ISLAND Yes, the best place to watch from is the Pilchard Pub, enjoy a pint and watch everyone set off. Once people are swimming you can walk around, or to the top of the island to get a better view of swimmers. You can catch the sea tractor across to the island, paddle or swim across. At mid and low tide you can walk across via the sandy causeway that connects to the mainland. THURLESTONE ARCH Spectators can watch the race from Leas Foot Sand, or walk the coast path South towards South Milton Sands, across the footbridge and closer to the Arch itself. The best place to be will be high up on the cliffs, being able to look down at the swimmers crossing the bay.
  • What time do I need to arrive?
    BURGH ISLAND Registration Opens for all - 4pm Nippers and Youth Race Start - 5pm (Nippers first 150m, then Youth 300m) Pilchard Inn BBQ Available from 5.30pm (TBC) Prize giving (Nippers) - 5.45pm - Held on the grass just to the left of the slipway Race Swimmers (Mass Start) - 6.30pm Charity Swimmers Start (Trickle Start)- 6.35pm Prize giving (Race swimmers) - 8pm - Held on the grass just to the left of the slipway Sun down - 9.30pm THURLESTONE ARCH Registration Opens for all -11am Nippers and Youth Race Start - 1.30pm (Nippers first 150m, then Youth 300m) Prize giving (Nippers) - 2pm 3 Mile Adults (Mass Start) - 2.30pm 2 Mile Adults (Mass Start) - 2.35pm 2 Mile Adults (Mass Start) - 2.40pm Course Sweep - Around 5.30pm Prize giving (Adult swimmers) - 6pm
  • Is there a briefing?
    Yes, there will be a short 5 minutes brief before the first wave of swimmers starts. You need to be at the start area 10 mins before the start of your race. All of the important information from the briefing will be in the race pack for you to download.
  • How fast do I need to swim?
    BOTH RACES We do not have a pace you need to swim, however the cut off for completing the Burgh Island swim is around 8.30pm, 30 mins before we start losing light. At Thurlestone Arch swimmers have around 3 hours to complete 3 miles, unless they are making steady and happy progress to the finish line. After this swimmers will be picked up and escorted back to the start. This is a pace of 7min per 100m (4 lengths of a standard pool) or 1 min 45 seconds per length which we feel is achievable by most.
  • What swim strokes are allowed?
    Any forward facing stroke you like...doggy paddle, breaststroke, side stroke, freestyle, choose!
  • How does the tide affect the swim?
    The races are timed right around a high water, meaning that we are swimming in the slackest water. Depending on the swell and wind direction, will determine the way which we swim - most likely it will be anti-clockwise at Burgh Island, however this may change so please be vigilant. At Thurlestone Arch we will also be swimming anti clockwise unless we have unusual swim conditions.
  • What about the kids race?
    The Nippers (aged 8-11) and Youth (age 12-15) races are held just in front of the slipway on Burgh Island or on Leas Foot Sand, they will swim a triangular course, which is marked with buoys/markers and fully safety covered. Your children need to be able to swim unassisted. You can swim along side them for moral support if you need with the Nippers, but you cannot assist them in any way. If you do not wish to swim with your child, then you need to be on slipway area while your child is swimming. Children must be in the age group, for the age they are on race day - not age at time of booking. The Kids races are not chip timed, but each child will receive a medal, and a swim hat. There will be trophies for the kids who come 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Nippers, and then again in the Youth races. Your child does not have to race, they can swim for pure pleasure and will still receive their finishers medal. We do aim for the children's races to take no more than 30 minutes.
  • What sort of safety cover is provided?
    We have a series of qualified lifeguards and water rescue people around the courses at roughly 200m intervals. There will be a safety power boat on patrol. To get the attention of the safety crew, you need to shout, raise a hand, or use your whistle.
  • Can I swim, I have a disability?
    This is very dependent on the type of disability, it's best to get in touch with us on a case by case basis. We would love to help you conquer either of our races and are happy to help you accomplish this. You do however need to be able to swim the distance completely by yourself without the need for buoyancy help (e.g - You need a life jacket or buoyancy aid to help you float), though you can use a helper for guidance, and extra safety measures such as a tow float for added protection. At Burgh Island the entry, and exit is a slipway, which is fairly steep and is also uneven at points. Accessing the Island by tractor involves climbing up and down very steep steps onto the platform. At Thurlestone Arch there is soft sand to access the water, but parking disabled bays with 200m of the water. For example we can help with: - A vision impairment, we are happy for you and friend/guide to swim together - If you need a walking aid, we can store this for you while you swim
  • How can I find all the info about the race?
    Have read through of all the FAQ's BURGH ISLAND You can download the Youth Race Pack HERE You can download the Adults (race and charity) Pack HERE THURLESTONE ARCH You can download the Youth Race Pack .... You can download the Adults (race and charity) Pack ...
  • Where can I park?
    BURGH ISLAND The easiest parking is in Bigbury car park right on the waters edge, charges are between 8am and 6pm, RingGo - 3476 or cash 1 hour £1.50 / 2 hours£3.00 / 3 hours£4.30 / 4 hours£5.50 / 6 hours£8.00 / All day£12.00 Dropped Pin Link You can also park at Folly Farm Parking Field which is £5 all day. Dropped Pin Link THURLESTONE ARCH Your event parking is included in your ticket price, check your race pack for directions. The event parking is the field opposite Thurlestone Golf Club - you will need to give a name on arrival of the swimmer booked. Visitors and friends can also park for £10 cash on arrival (No signal for card machine)
  • How do I access Burgh Island for the start of the race?
    You can access the island in many ways: 1 - By foot, walk across at mid or low tide, and then stay on the island. 2 - By your own kayak/canoe/SUP/boat 3 - Swim 4 - Take the iconic sea tractor - it holds 25 people, and costs £3 each way - dogs are allowed
  • Where can I stay for the weekend?
    You could stay on Burgh Island, find out more HERE
  • Do I have to wear a wetsuit?
    Wetsuits are mandatory if the water is below 14 degrees Celsius. The range for June is 12.8 to 16.5 degrees Celsius with the average for the end of June around 15 degrees Celsius. It could drop below 14 therefore make sure to check the website and emails the week before race day for the final verdict. If the water is above 14 degrees Celsius then wetsuits are optional, but encouraged. In September we are 99.9% guaranteed to have a wetsuit optional race.
  • Do I have to wear the hat provided?
    Yes. The hat will help us identify swimmers and waves, as each hat is numbered individually. If you would like to wear your own hat underneath our race hat that is fine.
  • Do I have to wear a tow float?
    Our races are tow float free as we have plenty of safety cover at the event. The only time a tow float is permitted is if you need to carry medication for the swim (epi pen/inhaler etc)
  • Can I wear fins/hand paddles/use a swim aid/headphones?
    No swimming aids are allowed except a tow float if needed for medication. Fins, hand paddlers, floats, headphones etc are not allowed.
  • Where should I carry my inhaler/epi pen/medication?
    If you need to take medication with you on the swim, we recommend you use a waterproof drybag, and a tow float. The race organisers are not responsible for any medications, if you cannot swim without your medication, and cannot store and carry it yourself, then you will not be able to swim.
  • How do I raise money for the charities?
    You can raise money in several ways: 1) Collect cash 2) Collect donations to your own accounts Then you would collate these and make a donation to our charity page. 3) Ask people to donate directly, using your name in the donation so we can track who has raised what The link to the donation page is
  • Why CrowdFunding and not JustGiving?
    Crowdfunding is part of JustGiving. However a traditional JustGiving page only allows 1 charity to be chosen. We need to use a CrowdFunding page to collate and then split the money raised. Post race all the donations will be counted, plus 100% of the event profit, and this will be split equally between the 2 charities. You will be able to see proof and amounts post race on our Facebook page and on this website.
  • How can I raise money?
    You can ask for donations, run a bake sale, or get sponsors per 100m swam, you can get inventive! There are several ideas, and a sponsorship form you can print out at the back of the Race Packs which you download ON THIS PAGE
  • How much do I have to raise?
    The only category with an obligation to raise funds is the Charity entries, however Race, Nippers and Youth can also raise money! We ask charity swimmers to raise £50, although there is no upper limit.
  • Will you check how much I raise?
    Although we ask for £50 to be raised, and we will try and make sure people are achieving this. We will not stop you racing if you raise less than this, but we are trying to raise as much as possible.
  • Can I raise money for someone else?
    Yes - but a minimum of £50 needs to be raised for the races charities first, then you can raise for which charity you wish to.
  • I'm unsure of which entry I should book
    BURGH ISLAND If you would like to race - then enter the race category, there is no obligation to raise money for charity, and you will be part of the mass start. Although it is called the race...there is no need to go fast, however if you are looking for a trophy or PB then you can do this too. If you would like a more relaxed swim, with a trickle start and the chance to raise money for charity, then enter as a Charity place. THURLESTONE ARCH We have 1, 2 and 3 mile options for the adults. If on race day you decide you would like to shorten your distance, that is fine, let us know at registration - however no refund can be issued.
  • What is included in the entry fee?
    BURGH ISLAND What's Included Race Hat for all swimmers, Medal for all swimmers, Chip Timing (excluding Nippers and Youth), Prizes for 1st, 2nd, 3rd for Race, Nippers and Youth (not Charity swimmers), Race photos and videos available post race What's Optional (added on at booking) Event Hoodie and Shirt, Open Water Devon Swim Hat What's Not Included Parking and travel fees, Any race specific gels/drinks/food, Swim equipment other than a race hat. Access to Burgh Island - you need to arrange this yourself (swim, sea tractor, or own boat) THURLESTONE ARCH What's Included Race Hat for all swimmers, Medal for all swimmers, Chip Timing (excluding Nippers and Youth), Prizes for 1st, 2nd, 3rd for Race, Nippers and Youth (not Charity swimmers), Race photos and videos available post race, Event Parking, Food and Drinks TBC What's Optional (added on at booking) Event Hoodie and Shirt, Open Water Devon Swim Hat What's Not Included Any race specific gels/drinks/food, Swim equipment other than a race hat
  • Do I get confirmation of booking?
    Yes - when you book through 'Lets do This' you will receive confirmation of your spaces once payment has been taken.
  • Can I transfer my space to someone else?
    Yes, login to Lets Do This and select transfer, there is a £2.50 fee for this service.
  • I need to edit my registration details, how can I do this?
    Login to your Let's Do This account, go to you booking and edit your details from your dashboard.
  • Where can I collect my merchandise?
    If you have pre ordered merchandise, it will be ready to collect at registration. If you purchase a last minute ticket (less than 2 weeks before the event) then it will be posted to you after the event.
  • Can I return my merchandise?
    No, merchandise is non refundable.
  • Can I get a refund?
    Places can be transferred to another swimmer, but are not refundable
  • What is your refund policy?
    Once purchased tickets are non refundable, if you are unable to swim, you can transfer your ticket to someone else. For any reason, if the event is cancelled, we will aim to reschedule the race. However is this is not possible, your entry will automatically roll over to the next years race.
  • Do I receive anything in the post?
    No. Your timing chip, hat, and everything you need will be registration for you. Nothing will be posted to you.
  • What happens if the race gets cancelled?
    BURGH ISLAND Our back up date is Sat 6th July 2024 - this is incase Sat 22nd June needs to be cancelled for any bad weather or bad water quality. If the race is cancelled everyone will automatically be moved onto the back up date. If this one is also cancelled everyone is automatically entered to the following year. THURLESTONE ARCH Our back up date is Sat 21st September 2024 - this is incase Sat 14th September needs to be cancelled for any bad weather or bad water quality - please note the time differences in the race pack. If the race is cancelled everyone will automatically be moved onto the back up date. If this one is also cancelled everyone is automatically entered to the following year.
  • Can I kayak/paddleboard around during the race?
    We ask that people do not go around the race course at the same time, just to avoid collisions and any confusion. However it is a public space and we cannot stop people entering the water.
  • Can I volunteer to help?
    Yes, if you have water safety qualifications such as beach lifeguard get in touch on these are paid positions available. If you would like to volunteer as a marshal on land, we offer a free BBQ, and a free swim with Open Water Devon in the same summer, you can see our swims HERE and they are worth between £35 and £65.
  • I have a really specific question?
    Get in touch on
  • Do I need to train for the event?
    This is very personal, some people are very confident in the sea, and some people will need to follow a training plan focusing on swimming the distance. We are qualified open water swim coaches and can provide a training plan tailored to your current swim level - get in touch to purchase one
  • I normally pool swim, can I enter?
    If you can already swim confidently in the pool, that's great. However open water/sea swimming poses different challenges and we highly recommend you try sea swimming prior to the event. Extra things to think about are: - mental training (seaweed, deep water, low visibility, sea creatures) - swimming in choppier waters (bi lateral breathing, swimming in swell) - swimming close to other people - dealing with the taste of saltwater - swimming in colder water - swimming in a wetsuit - sea sickness
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