Observers

Want to become an observer for the ILDSA, read on. Have the opportunity to be part of one of the hardest swims in the world!

What does an observer do?

The role of the observer is to represent the ILDSA on the boat. It is their job to independently monitor the swim and ensure that the rules as adhered to. This includes recording the progress of the swimmer, climate conditions, stroke rate and water temperature to name just a few. They will present the report together with the swim co-ordinates, plotting the progression of the Swim - for an independent scrutiny by members of the ILDSA at a Ratification Meeting. Your Swim will then be ratified and entered into the Official Record Books. You must first obtain observer training before you can become an official ILDSA obsevrer. Email swim@northchannel.info if you would be interested in becoming an observer.

Why do we need observers?

Mercedes Gleitze successfully swam the English channel on 7th October 1927, becoming the fastest woman to complete the swim in 15 hours 15 minutes. A few days after her accomplishment was put in doubt when another woman claimed that she had swum the channel faster. Although it was later discovered that this claim was totally unfounded and a hoax, it nevertheless put Mercedes under pressure to complete the swim again. She agreed to undertake the 'vindication swim' in October, when the water temperature was much colder. She failed to complete the swim but her bravery and determination convinced all that the original record should stand.

The use of independent observers ensures that all swims witnessed by the ILDSA are above scrutiny!

Why should I become an observer?

If you like meeting new people, are fit and active. Like fresh air and small boats and are prepared to write up exactly what you see, being a ILDSA Observer could be just the thing for you and we would like to hear from you. Swimmers who attempt this highly challenging swim will have invested a lot of time and effort in preparing for it. You will be part of that special day with them. Something that money can't buy!

Other questions for would be observers

When the swimmer enters the water to attempt the North Channel.
You will recieve a fixed expense payment, which will be only be payable if an 'attempt' is made by a swimmer. Payment will be made when the Observers report has be ratified by the ILDSA.
From 4am to 8am from Bangor or Donaghadee harbours. It is important that you will be able to arrive at these locations in a timely manner as the swim will be dependent on tides.
You will be required to arrange your own transport to and from the harbour.
You may only get as little as 8 - 10 hours notice in advance of the start time so your flexibility / availability will be required for the weekly allocation you are assigned.
Depends on why many crossings are being attempted. Average crossing times on an individual sole is 12-14 hours. When multiple crossings are being attempted, the ILDSA will provide two (or three) observers so that the duties of the observer can be shared.