The boat skipper is in control and responsible for the safety and well-being of the swimmer(s) and at all times must follow all event rules and be aware of fellow skippers and their swimmers.
- Setting the course: your skipper sets the course, and swimmers and paddlers must follow that course. We recommend you use the Route Optimisation Tool for plotting the best course.
- Efficient navigation: be prepared, plan and chart the course prior to the event.
- Team procedures:
- Confirm the start time of your wave; contact the starting swimmer on the morning of the swim.
- Also discuss identification issues such as how your paddler will find your swimmer(s), how your paddler will find the support boat, and how the support boat will keep track of the paddler/swimmer(s) during the race.
- Calculate approximately how long it will take your swimmer to reach the TAMS Tugboat at the 1500 metre mark, depending on his/her ability. Calculating your swimmer speed is particularly important for 25km ultra-marathon swimmers and support crew due to waiting for the swimmer to complete the 5km loop before collecting at the 1000m from shore (green buoy).
- Practise paddling alongside your swimmer(s). Get to know their style and stroke so you can easily identify them.
- Make a decision regarding the rotation of your swimmers and how long each swimmer will swim for, depending on level of ability.
- Prepare a list of food and fluid you’ll need for the day. Make sure you’ve prepared properly and your support team are all aware of what you’ll need during the day and when. Solos – practise your feeding regime and don’t do anything new on the day!
- Practise before event day: This includes hand signals with support crew and, importantly, getting in and out of the boat during swimmer rotation. You might like to have someone with a rope throwing it out to swimmers and pulling them in.
- Allocate roles for support crew. You’ll need a spotter to assist the skipper in conducting changeovers. A second person is needed to maintain visual contact with your swimmer, and other swimmers in close proximity to the support boat. Maintain awareness of the health and condition of your swimmer(s). Look out for signs and symptoms of swimmer illness and deterioration, including hypothermia and cramp.
- Make sure you/your team is aware of the race cut-off times.
- Ensure you know the procedures around withdrawing from the event. If you withdraw during the event, skippers you must notify the race director of your team number and importantly where you are going – mainland or Rottnest Island – so you are accounted for.
The key people involved in the safe management of swimmers are the boat skipper and any team spotters.
Swimmers must clearly tag the next swimmer by slapping hands above the water.
During changeover, skippers of boats with single propellers must put their boat into neutral and only engage them when instructed by the spotter. Skippers of boats with double outboards must turn the engine completely off before taking the swimmer on board.
- Support craft with single engines must be in neutral during the exchange of swimmers and they should not circle towards other swimmers’ paths during pickups.
- Support craft with twin engines must switch both engines off completely during swimmer exchange.
- 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.
Extreme caution should be used when picking up swimmers and paddlers. Solo swimmers have right of way and interference should be avoided at all cost.
The spotter’s responsibility is to provide assistance to the skipper to ensure safe changeover and ensure the safety of other swimmers and support craft.
Swimmers are encouraged and recommended for safety reasons to swim a minimum of one minute before changeover to avoid risks associated with changeovers in congested areas.
No duo or team member swimmer changeovers are to take place in the first 1000 metres for safety reasons.
The swimmer wearing the timing strap must pass through the finishing arch and over the timing mat to record the finish time. Other duo and team members may pass through the finishing arch but this is not compulsory.
Swimmers may have their photograph taken by the official event photographer. The photos will be shared and available on Port to Pub’s social media channels.
At 5:00 PM, race officials will reconcile all entries to identify those who have not finished/crossed over the finish mat.
These entrants will be called on marine radio VHF channel 74.
Qualified medical personnel in the first aid tent will be available to check the conditions of the swimmers post-event.