It’s a solo, unassisted swim, but that doesn’t mean you’re alone…

Swim plan and Observer

The swim routes NOWSA sanctions all present different challenges to planning and safety. NOWSA will provide the crew with a working Swim Plan for each swim, which will cover safety, navigation, traffic coordination, communication, and rules.

The NOWSA Observer will document the swim, and ensure that rules and requirements are adhered to. The Observer is NOT your crew and should not be relied upon for feeding and picture taking.

Powered escort craft

The need for support varies from swim to swim. All NOWSA sanctioned marathon swims require an escort boat. NOWSA can offer guidance in locating an escort boat, but ultimately it is the swimmer’s responsibility to provide an adequate support vessel.

When selecting a escort craft, the following questions should be kept in mind:

  • How many people will be aboard? Be sure to have room for the pilot, your crew, your NOWSA Observer, your paddler, you documentary film crew, your mother, and yourself. Plus all that stuff you’ll be bringing along.
  • What sea conditions can the boat handle? Remember conditions on the water can change quickly, so plan for the worst.
  • Will my crew be comfortable? Comfort is a relative term, but a dry place, a head, and a way to make hot drinks will make you and your crew enjoy the experience a little bit more.
  • How much does it cost? Boat and pilot fees are not covered by NOWSA or your sanctioning fees. You are responsible for negotiating and paying this cost.


Will you need a paddler? NOWSA doesn’t require a kayak or paddle board escort for swims and while having one can provide an extra level of security and comfort on a long swim, it adds an extra level of complexity to the swim. You are welcome to provide a paddler, but this must be factored into the logistics. How will the paddler get to/from the swim? What if the paddler gets in trouble?