The Rules

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 Process

  1. Read the Rules and Regulations to see if you meet the criteria required.
  2. Book your Pilot, agreeing approposed swim date, and 7 day window.
  3. Complete the online Application Form, available via the shop section of www.ildsa.info, with your full payment and membership fees, by the 31 May in the year of your swim.
  4. Finalise your application, by submitting the signed Medical Form, Qualifying Criteria Swim Evidence by the 30 June in the year of your swim or 14 days before the opening of your swim slot (whichever is earliest).
  5. Late applications will not be processed.
  6. Swims shall NOT be recognised retrospectively

2. North Channel Qualifying Criteria

  1. Solo swimmers must be at least 18 years of age prior to the swim.
  2. Relay swimmers must be at least 16 years of age prior to the swim.
  3. All swimmers must submit medical documentation to prove their fitness to attempt the North Channel.
  4. All swimmers must be members of the ILDSA.
  5. All swimmers must satisfy the ILDSA of their competence to make a realistic effort to undertake a successful attempt of the North Channel, by achieving the qualifying criteria set out below.
  6. Solo swimmers (one way) – must have completed at least one of the following verified and witnessed swims within 12 months prior to their North Channel attempt:
    • 6 hour swim in water of 13°C or below.
    • 8 hour swim in water 15°C or below.
    • Proof of completion in a recognised Channel Swim in water 13°C or below for a period considered by the ILDSA to be an acceptable.
    • Copies of Independent Observers logs and photographic evidence of temperature should be included.
  7. Solo swimmers (Two way) – must have completed at a Successful One Way Crossing of the North Channel / recognised Channel Swim in water 15°C or below and at least one of the following verified and witnessed swims within 12 months prior to their North Channel attempt:
    • 12 hour swim in water of 13°C or below.
    • 14 hour swim in water 15°C or below.
    • Copies of Independent Observers logs and photographic evidence of temperature should be included.
  8. Relay swimmers One Way –must have completed at least one of the following verified and witnessed swims within 12 months prior to their North Channel attempt:
    • 2 hour swim or a minimum of your proposed swim length (whichever is greater) in water of 14°C or below.
    • 3 hour swim or a minimum of your proposed swim length (whichever is greater) in water of 16°C or below.
    • Proof of completion in a recognised Channel Swim in water 14°C or below for a period considered by the ILDSA to be an acceptable.
    • Copies of Independent Observers logs and photographic evidence of temperature should be included.

3. Attire

  1. The swimmer is permitted to grease the body before a swim.
  2. Goggles, nose clips and earplugs are permitted. No GPS wearable devices are permitted.
  3. Any kind of tape on the body is not permitted unless pre-approved by ILDSA.
  4. All swimsuits must be made from textile materials, and must be in one or two pieces. Swimwear must not extend past the shoulder or below the knee.
  5. 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.
  6. The Observer shall approve all swim apparel prior to the attempt beginning.

4. During the Swim

  1. No physical contact with the swimmer is allowed, even to pass food, drink or secure items, such as light sticks, for safety reasons.
  2. The use of MP3 players or other electrical audio / communication devices is not permitted.
  3. 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 Observers. One additional vessel (kayak, canoe or other) is permitted under the supervision of the pilot. We strongly recommend you have a lifesaver and first aider on board for your safety.
  4. Starting Position: Swimmers must enter the water from the shore, or from the Pilot boat and swim to beach or rocks with no running sea water behind 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 observer prior to the start of your swim or it may not be ratified
  5. Finishing: Swimmers must finish on dry land or by touching cliffs with no sea water behind.
  6. Turning on two way swims: land as per 4.4 and 4.5 above. 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.
  7. 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 these times for health and safety reasons, e.g. major cramp. Relay swimmers are not permitted to have support swimmers.
  8. Relay swimmers (minimum 2) must swim for at least 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.
  9. Any adaptations to these rules required for swimmers with additional needs, must be agreed in advance the ILDSA

5. Observers

  1. Observers shall be allocated by the ILDSA.
  2. Observers require a full 12 hour notice of the intended start time of the swim, within the allocated seven day window. Swimmers to email swimnorthchannel@gmail.com and provide the date, location and time for the observer to meet to the ILDSA. Please note if the observer is called out and the swim is postponed a surcharge of £50 is liable to cover observer’s expenses.
  3. Please note if you decide on the day not to avail of the slot allocated and deemed suitable by your pilot and the 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 swim.
  4. The Observer(s) will ensure the Rules of the ILDSA North Channel are adhered to.
  5. One Observer is required for EACH WAY of the attempt (i.e. two Observers for a 2-way swim).
  6. The Observer(s) will complete an Official ILDSA Observers Log, which details conditions, incidents, times, food breaks including feed contents, medication taken and more. A copy of the Log will be available to swimmers within one calendar month of the swim being ratified.
  7. If the ILDSA appointed Observer(s) fails to show the swimmer or pilot must contact the North Channel Secretary within 10 minutes to advise, if no replacement ILDSA Observer(s) is available the pilot is then able to nominate an alternative person to Observer your attempt and will advise on the information required to ratify a successful swim. Rule 5.6 only applies if an observer was requested in accordance to 5.2.
  8. If there has been no request made for an observer 12 hours before the start of your swim to swimnorthchannel@gmail.com the ILDSA may be unable to recognise your swim if successful and will refund your observer fee.

6. Pilots

  1. Swimmers must satisfy themselves that they have appointed the best 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.
  2. The pilot you choose will need to hold the correct commercial insurance, licence as stated by MCA and the vessle require to be commerical coded as per the MCA regulations. The ILDSA reserves the right to request to view these credentials at any time. Your pilot will be require to a sign a declaration, provided by the ILDSA to confirm fully MCA compliant.
  3. The pilot is fully responsible for your safety and the ILDSA, its officers, executive committee, its members and observers are not liable for any injury sustained or property lost or damaged whilst participating in your North Channel attempt.
  4. The pilot will be required to provide the observer with gps co-ordinates so we can ratify your swim.
  5. Only one swimmer or relay team is permitted to make an attempt with any one Pilot at a time.

7. Code of Conduct

  1. 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.
  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 swimmer or relay team in the water, please confirm in writing to the North Channel Secretary (swimnorthchannel@gmail.com) a minimum of 2 weeks before your agreed slot opens.
  3. I declare that I am entering this event of my own choosing and I will place no liability on the ILDSA, its officers, Swim Officials, its members and Observers for any injury sustained or property lost or damaged whilst participating in North Channel Attempt.
  4. I declare that I will notify the ILDSA if there are any changes to my fitness or ability to participate in my North Channel Attempt.

These Rules and Regulations were updated May 2019. To ensure you have the most up-to-date document, please refer to www.northchannel.info.
Please note our rules and regulations are subject to change. If any changes are made after your application has been received you will be contacted by North Channel Secretary.