The swim from Aughinish in Co. Clare to Blackrock Diving Tower in Salthill is a distance of 10.5 km as the crow flies. However, it is not a straight crossing as swimmers have to navigate through swim gates (marker buoys) on the bay. In addition, due to currents, wind and tidal ranges of up to 5 metres in Galway Bay, swimmers can cover a distance of up to 13 km on the crossing. Swimmers should factor this into their training plans. Swimmers will start in Aughinish Co. Clare and meet with their boats at the muster point adjacent to Deer Island which is approx 1.5 km from shore.
There are three swim gates (marker buoys) which indicate the course across the bay.
- Gate 1 – @ 2km mark – Deer Island
- Gate 2 – @ 6km mark – Tawin Point
- Gate 3 – 50 m West of Foudra Rock buoy (South Cardinal Mark)
Each swimmer must swim within 50 metres of three marker buoys (gates) on the crossing. The first gate will be placed 2 km from the start at Aughinish, the second gate at the 6 km mark (off Tawin Point) and finally, the third gate located approx 50 metres WEST of Foudra Rock Buoy which is 1 km from the finish at Blackrock tower. These buoys mark the course and are mandatory for all boat captains and swimmers for safety and logistical reasons.
Galway Bay Swim Chart