Copyright© 2000-18  Varne Ridge Channel Swim Park. All rights reserved.

19 September 2018  


  1. Phone pilot to let them know you are in Dover.  Try to arrange a visit to meet the pilot (some will see you, some will not be able to, depending on their schedule etc).  Check out the boat to make sure you are happy with how you are going to feed from it, that way there will be no nasty surprises, or having to make any last minute changes!
  2. Report to the pilot every day on the your tide at 7.00pm to check whether you are to swim, and what time the pilot needs you to be at the boat.
  3. Passport.
  4. Swimming togs - two pairs. (Relay Teams - you will need at least 3 swimming costumes each, depending on how many times it may be necessary to swim an hour, fresh costumes will allow you to dry off, and warm up before entering the water again. Two to four pairs of goggles suitable for night/day (dark goggles can make it hard to see what is happening on boat).
  5. Ear plugs, two pairs (if you wear them).
  6. Two swimming caps.
  7. Sun cream - make sure you use the type you have used before (one that does not irritate you).
  8. Lights - battery or snap sticks - two pairs and safety pins. Check with  pilot as to what type he prefers to use.
  9. Pain killers - Paracetamol or Ibuprofen - use the type that suits you, and you have used before.
  10. Anti-histamine (non drowsy type) that suits you.  Take at least for a week before swim to get into the system.
  11. Grease if preferred, Lanolin and Petroleum jelly at least 50/50 mix.
  12. Rubber gloves to apply grease.
  13. Old towels and a large, heavy bathrobe which is easy to put on and start the warming process.
  14. Loose warm clothing, old track suit or similar, woolly hat, blankets or thermal blanket, hot water bottle, for after swim.
  15. What ever sea sickness tablets that suits you. Again only if you have tried these before when swimming (your crew should also use tablets that they have used before).
  16. Plastic waterproof box with cover top, or plastic bags, for clothing and blankets, to keep dry till swim completion, clearly marked and easy to access.
  17. Car parking for the swim:- Park in the Car Park adjacent to Marina office, go up the stairs to office, explain parking is for a channel swim. A ticket will be  issued subject to a fee (go there the day before to make sure you know where to go).
  18. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ANY LAST MINUTE PAYMENT DUE TO THE PILOT, they will NOT let you swim on a promise, no money no swim!
  19. Plastic boxes clearly marked.


  1. Have two separate plastic boxes for food.
  2. First box for your food/drinks, whatever you need for the swim.
  3. Feeding pole, long string or whatever the preferred method you are accustomed to feed from.
  4. Drinks container - bring at least two duplicates, just in case of mishap!
  5. Measuring jug, funnel.
  6. Decide in advance how you will do the liquid feeds. Bring plenty of mix and water, you could end up being in the water for anything up to 20+ hours.
  7. Water.  Use small bottles, DO NOT BRING 5 litre as they are much too heavy, plus hard to handle while afloat.
  8. Flasks of hot water: Have at least 2 litres of hot water available, just in case the stove, for some reason, is not ready for the feed.
  9. Do not make any last minute changes to your feed.  Only use what you have trained on, otherwise it could affect the outcome of the swim.  Remember one size does not fit all, what may good for one person, may be no good for you This a most important piece of information, don’t forget it !

  Crew food

  1. Plastic box.
  2. Rolls or sandwiches.
  3. Hot drinks - tea, coffee or what the crew like.
  4. Cuppasoups/pot noodles.
  5. Crisps or snacks.
  6. Ginger biscuits, ginger ale and crystallized ginger help against seasickness.
  7. Chocolate.
  8. Fruit.
  9. Remember, the swim can be for a duration of anything from 12 to 20 or more hours, take enough food.  Pilots do NOT take care of swimmers’ crew by way of food!
  10. Notes for swimmer support crew:  Bring Passports, sun caps and glasses, paper and pen to record stroke counts.
  11. Do not get in the way of the pilot and his crew, and listen to his instructions, but if you are not happy with something, say it!
  12. Flat Coca Cola (take fizz out) can help with seasickness, even swimmer.
  13. Remember the boat travels at swim speed; you will get to feel every motion of the boat, if you suffer from seasickness you will be no use to the swimmer.
  14. If you need to take seasickness tablets, make sure they are suitable for you. Take as instructed on the packet and do not take tablets which may make you drowsy.
  15. Make sure containers are easy to open - the boat will be in motion, avoid the use of sharp objects, metal knives or such like.
  16. Use plastic utensils if necessary.
  17. If you feel that you may be sick, make sure you are not in crew areas, or where you are likely to cause inconvenience to others.
  18. Bring plastic bags to take off rubbish from the boat after the swim.  Rubbish can be left in rubbish bins at Marina, do not bring back to Varne Ridge, thank you.
  19. Crew will need warm and waterproof clothing.  It’s not nice being wet and cold, bring hats, gloves and sensible footwear.
  20. One crew member needs to be main contact with swimmer  This person informs swimmer and encourages, they also must have a say in any decision re the swim, especially if swimmer may be in difficulty !!!!!!!!
  21. Deal with things with a good sense of humour and patience.
  22. String line.
  23. White board and markers.
  24. Gaffer/Duck tape is always handy.
  25. Camera /Mobile phones - make sure they  are fully charged.
  26. A bottle of bubbly to celebrate with.
  27. Finally, expect the worst and hope for the best!  Remember to keep feeds down to 30 seconds or less, as the longer you take feeding and talking, can add hours to a swim, by missing the tide.
  28. Before making a decision to swim, look, listen and feel, see if there are any white caps on the waves (not good for swimming) listen if any whistle blowing off the overhead wires, if there is (not good for swimming) feel what the air temperature is, if cool , then it will be cold in the channel.
  29. Wishing you the best of Luck, and may the Channel God’s smile on you.
  30. VARNE RIDGE, have plastic waterproof boxes, blankets, hot water bottles, flasks, feeding poles, string, white boards, plastic food containers and plastic bags for you to use free of charge.  Swimmers from abroad need only bring their togs.