Frequently Asked Questions

All Events

The lower age limit is 16, there is no upper age limit.

No though we do encourage entrants to wear a wetsuit for warmth and extra buoyancy. We suggest non wetsuit swimmers are used to swimming in open water in the appropriate temperatures (13℃ in May, 15 ℃ in September).

Several seal colonies live and feed around the islands so you may be lucky enough to see some during the event. There are occasionally non life-threatening jellyfish.

If you are in any doubt you should seek medical advice from your doctor and ensure you are in good physical and mental health to complete the event. You will be asked to provide any medical information and sign a disclaimer to ensure you are aware of the risks of open water swimming.

For safety reasons we require everyone to be at the event briefing and acclimatisation swim. If you are late due to travel delays we will do our best to arrange a special briefing but please do book your travel to get you there in time.

The events are based around Hugh Town on St. Mary's (the main island) so staying close to there will be more convenient. If you choose to stay on another island you will have to arrange transport to the start as we do not lay this on - there will be an extra cost and you may have to get up very early!

We have a sliding scale so that early cancellations qualify for a higher percentage refund whereas late cancellation do not qualify for any refund. See details for each event.

There's a waiver to read and acknowledge during the registration process as follows...

"The Scilly Swim Challenge will involve sea swimming and walking over designated routes decided by the Event Organisers. Whilst the utmost care is placed upon the safety of all swimmers, officials, supporters, bystanders and helpers, entrants undertake the event at their own risk. Sea swimming carries a level of risk that whilst reduced by the safe planning of the event can not be entirely mitigated due to the nature of wild swimming.

The event organisers have the authority to cancel, postpone or change the planned route to ensure the safety of swimmers and all involved. Individuals who in the opinion of the event directors or safety marshals are either at risk or putting others at risk during the event will be removed from the event.

By entering the event you confirm that you can swim a mile in less than 35mins [One Day] / 35-40mins [Two Day], have experience of open water swimming and agree to abide by the guidelines imposed by the event organisers."

Yes. There will be a spectator boat which follows all of the swims. The spectators will be able to get ashore and follow most of the walks. Tickets can be purchased at registration on St. Mary's.

You may wear swimming aids if this helps you stay with the group. Please remember however that you will be swimming with other people so be careful you don't bash them with a fin!

Please see the details for each event. Travel to and from Scilly is limited or impossible on Sundays. The one day events have a contingency day so if you plan to leave on event day and we have to change days you would miss the event entirely. Also we may have to alter schedules as we go so cannot guarantee to get you back to St. Mary's by a certain time.

Scilly Swim Challenge

Swimmers will be divided into three waves or "pods" of about 50 each according to swim speed.The fastest (Red) pod leaves first shortly followed by the Amber pod and then the Green pod.

You will be asked to stay behind a lead kayak and not drop behind the rear kayak in your group.

​To make sure we can complete the course in the time we do have a fairly strict timetable to keep to. Swimmers are divided into pods according to their speed. For everyone's safety these pods have to be kept together as a group. If you can't keep up with your pod you will be give the chance of a "piggy-back" in one of the safety boats or to drop back to a slower pod (if available).

We will advise you of clothing/warm kit and footwear to wear on the islands as you move to the next swim. All kit will be moved by a logistical team so it is there waiting your arrival. All warm kit/shoes will be dropped off prior to each swim.

No, everyone will regroup after the swim, be offered food and drink and then move together to the next swim before repeating the process.

Tea/coffee/cold drink will be available along with savoury food, cake, biscuits, fruit on each island.

No, this is a challenge event with the focus being to try and get everyone around in a controlled and safe way.

The walks connecting each swim are on a combination of sand, trail and tarmac and you will need footwear though there are no steep gradients or overgrown areas.

You can always get out of the water and onto safety boat.We will have medical and support staff to look after everyone and advisors to get you back to St Marys (if staying there).

Scilly 360

You will be swimming around one of the islands so its a full circle (360 degrees) and in years to come we hope to add another island year on year.

We always try our best irrespective of weather to get challenging swims completed but are obviously limited by weather and sea state.

Everyone irrespective of solo, 2, 3, 4 in a team will all start together.

There are 4 swim legs of approx 3.3km, each swimmer whether solo or in a team will need to check out of each leg. Your time will be recorded.

After a short feed stop the next leg starts with the slowest team going first.

Yes this is mandatory whether wetsuit or non wetsuit swimming. It ensures we have seen and talked to each person and are confident in each swimmers ability before race day. It also provides an opportunity for swimmers to see the clarity of water, get used to the water temperature and make any changes before the race. The acclimatisation swim is not a race.

Yes with prizes awarded for each category (solo, 2, 3 or 4 swimmers in a team) each with wetsuit and non-wetsuit categories. We do not have age group or gender categories (yet!).

This is at the discretion of the team. We need to be told at registration to allow us to monitor, control and ensure we are aware who is in/out of the water.

Yes, we want to encourage people to swim what they believe they can and to give differing options. The team can decide based on distance, weather and individual strengths - as long as you tell us at registration.

We encourage all entrants to follow the land guide along the coastal path, they will be carrying their own and swimmers in their teams kit and can watch the swim race unfold. The coastal path is undulating and an off road track so we suggest long trousers and sturdy trainers or boots are worn.

We have kayakers providing the first line of safety operating on the outside of the swimmers, inside and outside on bay crossings. In addition we have motor boats and a medical support boat. There will be sea and land medic. Land support/timers and assistance is at every swim leg finish.

Solo swimmers will have their warm clothing/essentials (meds, drink, nibbles, footwear) transported by our event team. Team swimmers (2,3 or 4 in a team) are encouraged to transport each team members kit to the finish of that swimmers swim leg and assist the swimmer after their swim leg.

The event will provide warm drinks, soft drink and snacks, flap jack, jaffa cakes, sweets at each stop. All swimmers are encouraged to pack their own preferred drink/food.

If a swimmer does not complete the swim leg before the cut-off they will be picked up by a support boat or can swim to the shore. For solo swimmers they will not be able to enter the next leg. Teams may start the next leg as normal.