Out of Event Crossings

4 min read

Please note, the waters between Rottnest Island (Wadjemup) and the mainland form part of the Fremantle Port’s Outer Harbor. As per Port Authorities Regulations 2001, Part 5, Section 89; a person must not swim in the waters of a port without an exemption or risk incurring a financial penalty.

About Out of Event Crossings

Out of Event Crossings of the Rottnest Channel are an iconic Western Australian activity that provide a unique opportunity for qualified open water swimmers to train for significant international swims such as the English Channel, Catalina Channel, and the 20 Bridges Swim around Manhattan Island.

Applications for Out of Event Crossings of the Rottnest Channel in December, January, March and April open at 8am on Friday 20 October 2023 (AWST).

A recent review of Out of Event Crossings by Fremantle Ports and the Rottnest Channel Swim Association has led to improved safety measures, improved communication, and a more streamlined application process, ensuring safety for swimmers and the shipping industry.

Thinking about completing an Out of Event Crossing?  The new streamlined process of obtaining approval to complete an Out of Event Crossing is all managed through the RCSA Out of Event Crossing application process.

Upcoming Out of Event Crossings

Dates for the 2025 Out of Event Crossings are currently being confirmed. The Rottnest Channel Swim Association endeavours to host one Out of Event Crossing per month in late 2024 and early 2025. 

Places are limited to 10 support vessels with a maximum of two swimmers per support vessel.

Applications close four weeks before the start of the Out of Event Crossing month, or when places are filled.

To be notified of the 2024/25 season dates and opportunities, please subscribe to the mailing list, here.

Subscribe for updates

Qualifying for an Out of Event Crossing

Before being permitted to attempt a crossing, the RCSA must be satisfied that you are qualified to do so and will ask for proof of the below conditions.

To qualify to swim you must:

  • Have completed an authorised solo crossing of the Rottnest Channel in the past two years; or
  • Have completed an alternative open water swim event that is of the same distance or greater than the South32 Rottnest Channel Swim crossing in the past two years; or
  • Have completed a 10km* qualifying swim in the last 3 months in less than 4 hours 15 mins.

Getting Ready for Your Crossing

1 – Find a suitable skipper as early as possible. They will need to prepare their vessel and may need to undertake some further training. All support vessels must have a functional VHF radio and an AIS transceiver/transponder broadcasting the vessel MMSI number and position.

2 – Your skipper must have:

3 – At least one person on the support vessel must have a current formal first aid qualification (HLTAID011 Provide First Aid Course or equivalent)

4 – Once you, your skipper and your observer are ready, you must jointly submit an Out of Event Crossing application through Active. This must include a completed FPA authority request form.

Need to Know

It can take up to 15 business days for your skipper to obtain an MMSI number for their AIS transceiver/transponder after completing their VHF Marine Radio License. Ensure you allow enough time.

If the swimmer is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian will need to create the application, by selecting the registration category Swimmer (Under 18) – Parental Guardian and providing their personal details. The parental guardian can then register the under 18 swimmer as an Additional Swimmer.

Swimmers must choose their crossing month. The swim window will fall on the first weekend of the month, and be postponed by one week if the RCSA determines weather conditions are unsuitable.

Having trouble registering? Check out our How To guides:

Application Outcomes

Application denied: If your application is denied, the RCSA will contact you to notify you of the decision. Unfortunately, there is no refund of the processing fee if the application is denied.

Application approved: If your application is approved, the RCSA will contact you to notify you of the decision and will specify the approved window. Once your application has been approved you cannot change your swim month.

Please note: An RCSA Out of Event Crossing approval permits one (1) crossing attempt within the approved window only.

The RCSA will send you the following approval documents via email:

  • FPA authority request form: Approved and signed by the Harbormaster
  • Approval notification letter/email
  • Further specific instructions

On the Day of the Attempt

On the morning of the swim, your skipper/support crew is required follow the below procedure:

  • The skipper must contact Fremantle VTS via VHF Channel 12 prior to the nominated starting time to confirm the immediate port movements and ensure minimal interference with any operations.
  • Skippers must log-on with Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue before the crossing commences.
  • Support craft are to monitor VHF Channel 12 when in port areas
  • Support craft, must follow port regulations and have due regard for all speed restrictions and safety navigation.
  • Support craft must remain a minimum of 50 metres from all commercial vessels and berths. Failure to maintain this distance is a security breach under Maritime Security.
  • The skipper must contact Fremantle VTS via VHF Channel 12 when about to cross the shipping channel.
  • The skipper must contact Fremantle VTS via VHF Channel 12 after exiting the shipping channel.
  • The skipper must contact Fremantle VTS via VHF Channel 12 if any incident takes place and if any assistance is required. A full report on all incidents involving will be required.
  • They must confirm that all persons are aware of the requirements and will abide by these throughout.

Fremantle VTS is manned 24/7 and can be contacted on VHF Channel 12 or on 9431 6333.

Post Swim

The previously approved observer is required to submit an Observer Declaration Form. Don’t forget to take a photo at the finish location to upload within the Form.

  • Your observer will need to submit the Observer Declaration Form within seven (7) days of the attempt.
  • If you successfully completed the crossing, the RCSA will table the details of your attempt at the next Board meeting for ratification.
  • Once ratified, your crossing will be added to the Official Solo Crossing Records and published on the Rottnest Channel Swim Association website.