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.
Given the intensive period around the time of the annual Rottnest Channel Swim, unfortunately the resources of the RCSA will not be available to process and manage Out of Event crossing applications for a three week period before and following the annual Rottnest Channel Swim. Importantly, this blackout period only extends to applications to attempt an Out of Event Crossing – it does not prevent a solo crossing, with all necessary approvals already received, taking place during this period.
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
- 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.
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.
We strongly advise making yourself familiar with the Event Rules so your crossing complies and can be ratified