The Rules

North Channel attempts are only recognised when they start and finish within Admiralty Chart 2198, Southern Part. No other route will be recognised. The route is 18.6 nautical miles (21.5 miles) (35km).

Application Process

  1. Read the Rules and Regulations to see if you meet the criteria required.
  2. Book your Pilot, agreeing approposed swim date, and 7 day window.
  3. Applications will open on the 1st February each year. Complete the online Application Form, available via www.northchannel.info, with your full payment and membership fees, by the 30 June in the year of your swim.
  4. Finalise your application, by submitting the signed Medical Form, Qualifying Criteria Swim Evidence by the 30 June in the year of your swim.
  5. Late applications will not be processed.
  6. Swims shall NOT be recognised retrospectively

North Channel Qualifying Criteria

  1. Solo swimmers must be at least 18 years of age prior to the swim.
  2. Relay swimmers must be at least 16 years of age prior to the swim.
  3. All swimmers must submit medical documentation to prove their fitness to attempt the North Channel.
  4. All swimmers must be members of the ILDSA.
  5. All swimmers must satisfy the ILDSA of their competence to make a realistic effort to undertake a successful attempt of the North Channel, by achieving the qualifying criteria set out below.
  6. Solo swimmers – must have completed at least one of the following verified and witnessed swims within 12 months prior to their North Channel attempt:
    • 6 hour (8 hour for 2-way swimmers) swim in water of 13°C or below.
    • 8 hour (12 hours for 2-way swimmers) swim in water 15°C or below.
    • Proof of completion in a recognised Channel Swim in water 13°C or below for a period considered by the ILDSA to be an acceptable.
    • Copies of Independent Observers logs and photographic evidence of temperature should beincluded.
  7. Relay swimmers – must have completed at least one of the following verified and witnessed swims within 12 months prior to their North Channel attempt:
    • A. 2 hour (2 hour plus additional 1 hour within 12 hours for 2-way swimmers) swim in water of 14°C or below.
    • 3 hour (3 hour plus additional 1 hour within 12 hours for 2-way swimmers) swim in water 16°C or below.
    • Proof of completion in a recognised Channel Swim in water 14°C or below for a periodconsidered by the ILDSA to be an acceptable.
    • Copies of Independent Observers logs and photographic evidence of temperature should beincluded.

Attire

  1. The swimmer is permitted to grease the body before a swim.
  2. Goggles, nose clips and earplugs are permitted. No wearable devices are permitted,mechanical / electronic assistance is allowed.
  3. Any kind of tape on the body is not permitted.
  4. All swimsuits must be made from textile materials, and must be in one or two pieces. Swimwear must not extend past the shoulder or below the knee.
  5. One single layer swimming cap is permitted, and must be made from silicone or latex. Caps may not be made from neoprene or other heat retaining materials.
  6. The Observer shall approve all swim apparel prior to the attempt beginning.

During the Swim

  1. No physical contact with the swimmer is allowed, even to pass food, drink or secure items, such as light sticks, for safety reasons.
  2. The use of MP3 players or other electrical audio / communication devices is not permitted.
  3. Swimmers must provide their own Support Crew (minimum of 1), who are responsible for your well being, but may not interfere with the decisions of the Pilots or Observers. One additional vessel (kayak, canoe or other) is permitted under the supervision of the pilot.
  4. Starting Position: Swimmers must enter the water from the shore, or from the Pilot boat and swim to beach or rocks with no running sea water behind and start from there.
  5. Finishing: Swimmers must finish on dry land or by touching cliffs with no sea water behind.
  6. Turning on two way swims: land as per 4.4 and 4.5 above. You should immediately return to the water, where you may stand or sit for 10 minutes. You may not be touched by any person, but can have grease, food, medical supplies or swim apparel handed to you. This stop time is added to your overall time.
  7. Support swimmers. Solo swimmers may have support swimmers after the first period of 3 hours has elapsed and for a period of 1 hour. The support swimmer may not re-enter the water until a period of two hours has elapsed. The support swimmer may swim alongside, not in front of, the swimmer. The Pilot may request, at their discretion, the support swimmer to join the swimmer outside these times for health and safety reasons, e.g. major cramp. Relay swimmers are not permitted to have support swimmers or pace makers.
  8. Relay swimmers (minimum 2) must swim for at least 1 hour each, in the same order each time. At change over, swimmers shall enter the water from behind the current swimmer and swim past. The swimmer in the water shall exit as soon as possible, with change over taking no more than 5 minutes. The rota (order of swimmers, length of each swim) for the relay team members must be agreed in advance with the ILDSA Observer.
  9. Any adaptations to these rules required for swimmers with additional needs, must be agreed in advance the ILDSA

Observers

  1. Observers shall be allocated by the ILDSA.
  2. Observers require a full 12 hours notice of the intended start time of the swim, within the allocated seven day window for your swim. Please note if the observer is called out and the swim is postponed a surcharge of £50 is liable to cover the observer's expenses.
  3. Please note if you decide on the day not to avail of the slot allocated and deemed suitable by your pilot and the observer is in attendance you will forfeit all monies paid to the ILDSA and will be required to re-start the application process if you wish to swim.
  4. The Observer(s) will ensure the Rules of the ILDSA North Channel are adhered to.
  5. One Observer is required for EACH WAY of the attempt (i.e. two Observers for a 2-way swim, three Observers for a 3-way swim).
  6. The Observer(s) will complete an Official ILDSA Observers Log, which details conditions, incidents, times, food breaks, medication taken and more. A copy of the Log will be available to swimmers within one calendar month of the swim.

Pilots

  1. Swimmers must satisfy themselves that they have appointed the best Pilot to suit their needs. The ILDSA cannot be responsible for your route, or any decisions your Pilot makes with or for you. The ILDSA does not offer any training to, or endorsement of Pilots or Agents.
  2. The pilot you choose will be require to sign a declaration, provided by the ILDSA to confirm they are fully qualified, insured and their vessel is seaworthy.
  3. The pilot will be required to provide the observer with gps co-ordinates so we can ratify your swim.
  4. Only one swimmer or relay team is permitted to make an attempt with any one Pilot at a time.

Code of Conduct

  1. Swimmers must declare that they have prepared to the best of their ability, having the relevant experience and training regime, abide by international anti-doping policies and have adequate clothing, nutritional requirements and support in place.