What You Need to Know

3 min read

We have been advised that the FPA are not approving applications for Out of Event Crossings at this time. As we do not have an ETA as to when the FPA will begin the approval process again, we are not currently accepting any Out of Event Crossing applications. All previous Out of Event Crossing applicants will receive an email notification when applications re-open.

Please note, the waters between Rottnest Island and the mainland form part of the Fremantle Port Authority’s outer harbour. 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.

Out of Event Crossings have been developed by the RCSA, together with the Department of Transport and Fremantle Port Authority. In applying for an Out of Event Crossing, the RCSA will assist the intending swimmer by obtaining all approvals, coordinating a safety message and providing all information relating to training and preparation.

We want to make sure you and your support crew have considered the various risks of swimming across the Rottnest Channel.

The RCSA isn’t in a position to provide you with a risk management plan for an out of event crossing, but we do suggest you and your support crew consider and discuss your responses to material risks, including (in no particular order):

  • Response to a shark sighting
  • Hypothermia and cut-off times (nothing compulsory from RCSA, but can be self-imposed)
  • Poor light (if your swim goes longer than you anticipated)
  • Sea sickness
  • Inhaling seawater (several cases during the Feb swim)
  • Poor or deteriorating weather conditions
  • Injury to swimmer or support crew
  • Boat break down
  • Other boat emergency (capsize)
  • Ships using the main channel – they travel much more quickly than they appear
  • Strong currents, wind
  • Sunburn
  • Pulmonary Oedema

The list isn’t exhaustive, but does cover some important risks. Your crew should have a very clear idea of what to do in the case of the critical ones.

We recommend strongly that you check in with Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue Group (FVSRG) at the beginning of the swim and ensure you have working radios, EPIRB, flares, etc. You should keep in mind that the exemption for paddlers (regarding offshore safety equipment) only applies to Event Day, and not to other swims. Your boat skipper will be aware of the equipment he/she must carry.

Please note

You must give way to ships. Swimmers should not be crossing the channel if vessels are in the area. Should a ship be in the channel, both swimmers and support craft should move outside the shipping channel while the vessel passes.

In an emergency, FVSRG and WA Water Police are in a position to coordinate and provide an emergency response. Emergency communications are via VHF Channel 16 or call 131 4449442 8600.

We strongly advise making yourself familiar with the Event Rules so your crossing complies and can be ratified.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.