Event Safety

Event Safety

View our: Terms & Conditions and Waiver

This is your challenge: Make it safe, and make it fun!

Safety guidelines

  • Ocean swimming can be a demanding sport/activity
  • You are responsible for your own physical condition and are urged to train appropriately for the event (be able to swim the full distance of your chosen event and have open water swimming experience) and have a medical check prior to entry if required.
  • It is important to note that, while every effort will be made to ensure a safe and fun event, organisers and crew are unable to guarantee swimmer safety
  • Swimmers with lower confidence are encouraged to request a different coloured ‘nervous swimmer cap’ at the safety briefing for easy identification and support
  • All registered swimmers must be present at their relevant compulsory safety briefing on event day
  • Event wave starts – Entrants can find this information on the event page and will be notified at registration and again at the safety-briefing

Event cut-off times are enforced for your safety. These are:

  • 2 hours for the ‘I’m Going Long’ State Bay of Islands Classic 3.3km
  • 1 hour, 50 minutes for the ‘I’m Going Long’ State Harbour Crossing 2.9km
  • 2 hours for the ‘I’m Going Long’ State Capital Classic 3.3km
  • 1 hour, 45 minutes for the ‘I’m Going Long’ State La Grande Swim 2.8km
  • 1 hour, 40 minutes for the ‘I’m Going Long’ State Sand to Surf 2.6km
  • 1 hour, 45 minutes for the ‘I’m Going Long’ State King of the Bays 2.8km
  • 40 minutes for any ‘Step It Up’ 1000m
  • 13 minutes for the ‘Give It A Go’ 300m
  • N/A for OceanKids
  • Surf Lifesaving New Zealand lifeguards will be patrolling the course for the duration of your event
  • St John staff will be on-site with staff and resources at all events
  • A swimmer deemed incapable of completing the course in a satisfactory condition will be brought to shore by lifeguards at any time
  • While in the water, all swimmers must comply with the directions of lifeguards, the Harbour Master or Coastguard
  • In the event of difficulty in the water, stop and raise your hand directly above your head if you are able to identify yourself to a lifeguard. If this is not possible, simple roll onto your back to float in a relaxed position and try to alert a lifeguard
  • In the event of witnessing an injury/accident/medical incident during the swim, please report this to one of the lifeguards on the water or on land as soon as possible
  • If you decide to withdraw from the event for any reason, please alert a clearly marked event official and return your timing chip to indicate your withdrawal
  • To ensure your safety, please be vigilant when swimming around buoys and passing other swimmers
  • We recommend swimmers wear a wetsuit for assistance with buoyancy and warmth
  • Please give assistance to fellow entrants in need of help
  • The approved age brackets for each swim discipline is as follows: State OceanKids is 6 – 10 years old. In the ‘Give It A Go’ 300m the minimum age is 10 years old. In the ‘Step It Up’ 1000m the minimum age is 12 years old and in the ‘I’m Going Long’ swims, the minimum age is 14 years old. For swimmers under these minimum ages that have consent from a legal guardian to enter, you must seek pre-approval from the Ocean Swim Series team by contacting us with reasons why they can swim in this race.
  • Post-race hydration – we recommend you bring some fluids to hydrate with after your swim

Event Rules

  • You must be present at your appropriate safety briefing
  • You must start the swim within the designated area
  • You must swim the course as instructed in the safety-briefing. If you fail to do this, you will be disqualified
  • Each swimmer must wear the cap provided in your swim pack on the outside of any other cap (excluding elites – who must only wear the elite cap given to them for the swim)
  • No swimmer shall be permitted to use or wear any device which may be an aid to their speed, endurance or buoyancy (with the exception of a wetsuit). For all swimmers (including elites) goggles, a maximum of one (1) cap, nose clip and earplugs may be used. Swim Paddles or flipper/fins are also not permitted to be used
  • No swimmer may use alcohol or any illegal, detrimental or dangerous drugs, stimulants, depressants or other substances with the intent to improve their performance, eliminate the sense of fatigue or for any other purpose
  • Swimmers shall be allowed to use grease or other such substances providing these are not, in the opinion of the Event Director or Event Manager, excessive
  • Swimmers will be required to have event officials mark their event number on their hands prior to starting their swim
  • If you require assistance during the swim or observe any other athlete in distress raise one arm so our water safety personnel can assist
  • Lifeguards, the Event Director and Event Manager shall have ULTIMATE AND FINAL authority to remove a participant from the swim if the participant is judged to be physically incapable of continuing the swim without risk of serious injury or death.
  • No outside assistance is allowed except from technical officials or Surf Life Saving NZ
  • Purposely obstructing or impeding the progress of other swimmers in the field is prohibited. Doing so will result in your disqualification
  • Good sportsmanship is expected of all swimmers.  Fraud, theft and acts of grossly unsportsmanlike conduct are grounds for immediate disqualification. The determination of whether an act is deemed unsportsmanlike is at the sole discretion of the Event Director
  • Swimmers are expected to heed directions and instructions of all event officials and public authorities
  • Participation in any event in the State NZ Ocean Swim Series events is at the discretion of the Event Director who reserves the right to reject or withdraw any swimmer
  • The Event Director and Event Manager have the authority to disqualify swimmers
  • The Event Director’s decision is final

Any protests regarding decisions made by Event Director or Event Manager must be made in person and received by the Event Director or Event Manager within two hours of finishing the event. You can locate the Event Manager or Event Director through the Information Tent.