Skippers and Paddlers

GPX Download - Swim Course

Boat skippers can accurately plot the courses via GPX. In order to import the GPX file, please consult your chartplotter/GPS system user manual, or through online information sources.


To ensure the highest standards of safety for the Port to Pub event, the following requirements are in place:

  • Each swimmer or team requires a support boat 5-12 metres in length with a qualified skipper, and is strongly encouraged to have a support paddler to accompany them throughout the event. Details must be provided on registration.
  • You must hold any licence (including but not limited to a recreational skipper's ticket) required by Law or the Marine Rules to skipper the vessel
  • To ensure the highest standards of safety for the event, it is recommended that skippers become a member of Fremantle Sea Rescue. This event would not be possible without the assistance of Fremantle Sea Rescue. In the event of an emergency, Fremantle Sea Rescue will have a quick access to the database of all member skippers’ contact details, and can help your crew as fast as possible.
  • Paddlers are required to attend the briefing and have practiced paddling with their swimmers



The role of the skipper is arguably the most important on the day. You are the key to a safe and successful crossing for all participants. Experienced skippers  know how important it is to prepare their craft for the journey, checking that everything on board is current, in date and in working order.

       Skipper Safety Briefing 

Please ensure your boat is registered, and that you have a current registered skipper’s ticket.

If your vessel is over 10 metres, you are advised to stay south of the channel and the main fleet.

You will need to supply the following information to register:

  • Skipper Name
  • Skipper Address
  • Skipper Mobile
  • Skipper Email
  • Skipper License #
  • Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue Group #
  • Boat Make
  • Boat Length
  • Boat Rego Number
  • Do you have a mooring?
  • If yes Mooring number?


Skipper tips

If this is you first time, get to know your swimmer or team of swimmers, as lifelong friendships are made from successful crossings. You are responsible for the safety of your craft, swimmers and crew on board and, importantly, the safety of other swimmers and boats. For many swimmers, this is not a race, although everyone would like to make the crossing in the best time possible, meaning that the safety of everyone in the water is of paramount importance. Solo swimmers have the right of way at all times. You are in charge and responsible for your swimmer’s safety, keep a keen eye for the safety of swimmers in the water in your immediate vicinity.

The most difficult task is a successful start where care, calm and good manners are important; know the starting protocol and stay away from the holding area until your swimmer’s wave has been called. Make sure that you have a plan know how to identity of your paddler and your first swimmers style and how long it take for that swimmer to swim 1000 metres.

The changeover can be very stressful - take extreme caution, use good manners and be calm at all times. Take it slowly and cautiously and beware of the ever present danger of the propeller, most injuries are caused by a swimmers own boat. Boats should not go astern at all. However, skippers can use reverse thrust to stop the forward way of their boat, to avoid swimmer, paddler or vessel collision. This must be done in a controlled manner with the skipper checking it is all clear directly behind his boat before acting.

Your swimmer must never be out of sight or out of mind, set each crew member a specific task with one member being responsible to watch for swimmers. Your radio must be on at all times. Communication is the key to safety. Assign a crew member to this task

A good skipper is prepared. Make sure you become familiar with either the mooring or beach anchoring etiquette of Rottnest Island.

Empower yourself by setting a good example for everyone around you, and have a great day!

Please refer to the event rules for more information for skippers.

Vessel size restrictions

Support boats are to be organised by entrants. No personal watercraft is allowed. E.g. jet skis.

Vessels used in the Hotel Rottnest Port to Pub are restricted to 5 - 12 metres in length. It is recommended vessels over 10 metres stay to the south of the channel and of the main fleet.

To determine how many people are legally permitted on board, please refer to the Department of Transport requirements. Your boat must be licensed to carry your whole team including swimmer/s, paddler/s, and all support crew.

Race Day Communications

  • All Traffic, including emergencies and mayday calls are to be made on 74VHF. Mayday or Pan-Pan calls, urgent messages such as a swimmer requiring medical assistance of any kind. General Traffic includes calls to locate a swimmer, breakdown and general announcements from the Race Day Emergency Team (navigation warning etc.)


Paddlers - Your Role and Tips

Paddlers briefing video

As support paddler in the Port to Pub, your role is to:

  • Guide your swimmer(s) and take responsibility for their safety
  • Relay information between the skipper/support crew and your swimmer
  • Maintain a positive and encouraging demeanour
  • Continue to assess your swimmer’s physical and mental condition throughout the event. Asking them simple questions is a good way to do this
  • Find out which side your swimmer would prefer you to paddle on
  • Keep your swimmer on course - even slightly raised seas can make it difficult for a swimmer to see where they are going
  • During the event, the paddler should stay parallel to the boat, which the skipper will be keeping on the most direct line. The swimmer should stay parallel to the kayak. Your skipper should also inform you of landmarks that the team is aiming towards
  • A good way to get your swimmer back on the correct line if they have lost direction, and your kayak is also off direction, is to lift the paddle and point it in the direction of where you want them to go.
  • Make sure you can see the swimmer at all times. Stay by their side and make sure other support boats know there is a swimmer by your side. Your swimmer may prefer you to be very close by and guide them, so they don’t have to keep looking up and ahead to see where they’re going.
  • Consider ways to signal to your swimmer(s) as they may not be able to hear your instructions very easily.
  • Paddlers for solo swimmers will need to feed their swimmer by passing the food over, or using a pole with a bucket attached to it. You can give them liquids by throwing them a bottle attached to a rope. Have a nutrition run-sheet worked out with your support crew and swimmer.
  • Have a plan of where you will meet your swimmer and support boat at the designated collection point(s).
  • Practice paddling next to your swimmer – it will make the experience much easier on the day.
  • Having a plan and constant communication is the key to providing your swimmer(s) with the best experience.


What to Wear

  • It is most important that you fully protect yourself from the sun
  • Wear bright colours or something distinctive so the first swimmer and support boat can easily find you at the start
  • A large, wide-brimmed hat
  • Zinc and sunscreen
  • Long sleeved rash vest or shirt
  • Board shorts or leggings/wetsuit if cold
  • Sunglasses (have a strap if possible)
  • Camel back or water bottle – you will need to drink plenty of fluid on the day
  • Enjoy the day!


Course coordinates


Rhumb line Latitude


Start -32.02871 115.74757
4km -32.02124 115.70615
7km -32.01563 115.67508
10km -32.01001 115.64402
11km -32.00814 115.63367
12km -32.00626 115.62332
13km -32.00439 115.61297
14km -32.00251 115.60262
15km -32.00063 115.59226
16km -31.99875 115.58191
17km -31.99687 115.57156
18km -31.99686 115.56098 -31.99670 115.55040
Finish -31.99766 115.54258



Rhumb line Latitude

d m.m

d m.m
Start 32 01.723 S 115 44.854 E
4km 32 01.275 S 115 42.369 E
7km 32 00.938 S 115 40.505 E
10km 32 00.601 S 115 38.641 E
11km 32 00.488 S 115 38.020 E
12km 32 00.376 S 115 37.399 E
13km 32 00.263 S 115 36.778 E
14km 32 00.151 S 115 36.157 E
15km 32 00.038 S 115 35.536 E
16km 31 59.925 S 115 34.915 E
17km 31 59.812 S 115 34.294 E
18km 31 59.811 S 115 33.659 E
19km 31 59.802 S 115 33.024 E
Finish 31 59.859 S 115 32.555 E