Boat And Crew Info
  • Boat And Crew Info

Event Day Info Boat And Crew Info
Boat And Crew Info

Swimmers, please ensure that your Boat Captain has completed the online Boat Safety Checklist / Skipper and Crew Declaration Form: CLICK HERE


There will be a boat captains (skippers) safety briefing held in the week leading up to the swim. Full details will be emailed out to all registered boat captains approx 1 week before.

Skippers have two main roles:

  1. The swimmer sets the speed and the skipper sets the course (direction) for the swimmer; and
  2. The skipper is responsible for the safety of the swimmer(s) and support crew.

The Boat Captains briefing will cover the following areas:

  • Checking that boat safety checklist and declaration has been completed.
  • Safety information for boat captains and crew
  • Launching your boat on Friday evening before the swim
  • Wave times and Muster point for your swimmer on Saturday morning  – swim day
  • Chart of the course will be provided to all Boat Captains
  • No Boat Zones at start and finish
  • Swim gates (buoys) and cut-off times for swimmers to reach these points
  • Advice on guiding your swimmer across the bay

Due to the large number of boats supporting the swim, all boats need to be launched the evening before and be in the water in the Galway docks beside the RNLI station. A section will be cleared by the Harbour Master for the boats. Boat slips in the area are available in Galway docks, Claddagh, Renville (Galway Bay Sailing Club),  Barna Pier and Spiddal. Please communicate with your crew on where to board the boat on the morning of the swim.

Attention: In the case of poor weather conditions, the organising committee may change the start time, date and even the distance of the swim.

Notes for Support Boats

–       Boat Skipper and crew must attend the mandatory pre-swim briefing on Wednesday evening during the week leading up to the swim – details will be sent via email to all swimmers and registered boat captains.

–       Each skipper shall complete and sign the (online) declaration and boat safety checklist.

–       Each participating boat shall be insured with valid third-party liability insurance for the duration of the race.

–       Swimmers participate in the event entirely at their own risk.  The Frances Thornton Galway Bay Swim (FTGBS), its Officers, Committee, Organising Committee,  and/or Swim Committee will not accept any liability for material damage or personal injury or death sustained in conjunction with, prior to, during, or after the race.

–       The owner/skipper is responsible for warranting the suitability of the boat for this swim.

–       Type of boat most suitable is a 5.0m Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) with a 50HP engine or equivalent

–       For safety reasons only One swimmer is allowed in the water per boat (except during relay team changeovers).

–       Minimum recommended crew per boat is two (Captain and one crew member to assist the swimmer on the crossing.)

–       The crew should be suitably qualified under the ISA National Powerboat Training Scheme or equivalent

–       Boats should be fully equipped as per the checklist in the Form on the website.

–       Instructions to support boats can be found in the Boat Skipper section of the website.

–       Proper marine communications (VHF Marine Band Radios) must be available to each boat. The Channel for the day will be decided upon at the swim safety briefing.

–       Each boat will be given a contact list of VHF call channel, ground support and medical personnel for the day.

–       Boat crews must be available at the muster point off Deer Island a minimum of 30 minutes before their swimmer start time to check-in with the Command boat on VHF. Swimmers will NOT be permitted to enter the water until their boat has checked in .

–       A boat check may be requested by the boat safety officer on your boat.  You will be informed in advance if you will be required to present your boat for a boat check the evening before the swim.

–       Everyone on board a support boat (crew and relay team swimmers) must wear an appropriate personal flotation device

Swimmer Support: Each swimmer will provide their own support boat and a skipper.  Each swimmer has been told to have their own crew member on board to assist them with their feeds and manage the swimmers on board gear.

Each skipper will be provided with a chart of the swim route across the bay. A command boat will liaise with it and the swimmer (support) boats.   The support boats dictate the course/direction across the bay, the swimmer dictates the pace.

The swim will begin in the water with a mass start for each swim wave. Swimmers will swim northeasterly, staying on the east side of Deer Island (which will be on the swimmers left). There, they will be met at the Muster point (approx 2.5km from the shore) by a gathering of boats. Each swimmer will locate their support boat.
It is important that your swimmer knows what your boat looks like and who is on it.  Swimmers have been told to make contact with the boat skipper and crew prior to the event.  Know your team!

Swimmers have been told to swim towards the Command boat if they cannot locate their boat straight away. The boat captain should identify their swimmer by their swim cap number and their swim tow-float. Once you have found your swimmer, have them swim on the windward side of your boat and then continue on your way.

The course is approx 13km from Aughinish Beach in Co. Clare, to Blackrock Tower in Galway. En route you must pass by (within 10 metres) of three buoyed gates:

  1. The first gate will be at Deer Island.
  2. The second gate will be at the 6km mark.
  3. The third gate will be 0.5km from Blackrock tower and the finish line.
  4. There is a 100 metre boat exclusion zone around Blackrock tower for the safety of swimmers. You will NOT be permitted to offload swimmer bags or crew at Blackrock. Swimmers have been told to leave their ‘Finish’ bag on the bus which will then be left for them at Blackrock.

Each swimmer must pass within 10 metres of each gate (buoy) to complete the course.

Swim Day: – When your boat is accompanying the swimmer.  Swimmers have been given the following instructions:

  • Swimmers should stay beside the boat not behind it. Keeping the swimmer towards the bow of the boat works well as it allows them to maintain their direction and to stay away from the engine (fumes).
  • Always be aware of where the swimmer is in relation to the boat propeller. Never put your engine in reverse.  Wait for the swimmer to catch up if you get ahead of them.
  • For safety reasons, the swimmers must swim on the windward side of the boat. This ensures that wind or swell will not result in the boat landing on the swimmer. The order is WIND – SWIMMER – BOAT.
  • The boat will be setting the direction (it will be following the course on the chart and the event buoys that have been placed in the bay). The swimmer will be setting the speed, so swimmers should pick a spot on the front half of the boat and try to stay in line with that.
  • If the swimmer strays too far from the boat, then their support crew member should attract their attention with a whistle to get them back on course. The boat skipper should hold their direction until the swimmer gets back on course.
  • A boat/swimmer that retires from the race shall notify their port of destination to the Command boat.  If the Command boat is unavailable, and/or does not acknowledge, at least one other boat in the race should be informed and the message should be relayed to the command boat.
  • If the swimmer’s boat breaks down, the swimmer must exit the water onto their support boat.
  • The boat captain must notify the Command boat of their location and the swimmer they are supporting. The boat should drop anchor.
  • The swimmer can continue their swim once a backup boat arrives.