Rules - Catalina Channel Swimming Federation


1-13. Read aloud by Observer before for all swims.

1. In any Catalina Channel swim attempt, no swimmer shall use or be assisted by artificial aids of any kind. Swimmers are permitted to grease the body before a swim, use goggles, wear one cap, wear one porous suit, neither of which may be designed either to retain body heat or aid in buoyancy. No wetsuits are permitted.

2. During a swim, no supporting contact whatsoever with the swimmer shall be permitted by any person or object.

3. For a swim to be officially recognized, a swimmer must cross the channel from the natural connecting shore, touch the opposite natural connecting shore and clear the water.

4. The timing of the swim shall start from the moment the swimmer enters the water until he/she touches the opposite natural connecting shore, and clears the water. The observer is in charge of timing the swim.

5. The official observer shall be in sole charge of the timing of the swim, and shall be responsible for the interpretation of the rules, including the right to cancel the swim in adverse conditions and/or danger to the swimmer. Failure to follow the observer’s directions by any swimmer, pace swimmer, paddler or other support crew members will result in disqualification.

6. Paddlers and/or pacers are legal as long as they are not used as physical support by the swimmer. Pace swimmers will be allowed to swim no more than one hour at a time and for no more than a total of three hours.

7. No alcoholic beverages shall be consumed by any swimmer, observer, boat crew member, or anyone associated with the swim from dock to dock.

8. A swimmer must not take any drugs that are on the U.S. Olympic Committee's list of prohibited medications. This list is available from the Olympic Drug Reference Line at (800) 233-0393 (operational on business days.) Information also at

9. CCSF shall not observe attempts to swim the channel by persons under the age of fourteen.

10. No minor under the age of fourteen shall be allowed on the boat to accompany any swim.

11. Every application for recognition of a swim must be accompanied by the official observer's log (which includes the official time, any incidents, times, tides, methods of feeding, and other pertinent details), completed forms and fees. Additional evidence may be requested by the CCSF at its discretion.

12. If any situation arises which is not covered by the rules, the open water rules of FINA will be in effect. CCSF is in charge of interpretations of the rules prior to a swim. The observer is in charge of interpretation of the rules during a swim.

13. Any variation from the applicable rules without prior approval of CCSF will negate the crossing.


Read by Observer as applicable.

14. NAVIGATOR: The navigator of the support boat must be a member of CCSF and have a Coast Guard license (on file with CCSF) for the swim to be official. The type of license depends on the boat size and whether or not the boat is for hire. (See navigator packet for detail.)

15. MEMBERSHIPS: Each swimmer must be a current member of CCSF.

16. DOUBLE/ MULTIPLE CROSSINGS: For double crossings to be officially recognized, a swimmer must cross the channel from the natural connecting shore, touch the opposite natural connecting shore, clear the water, return to the water directly, touch the originating natural connecting shore, and clear the water. Additional crossings must conform to this procedure.

17. SWIMS PRIOR TO 1981: All Catalina Channel swims prior to 1981 have been accepted as official.

18. EXPERIENCE & MEDICAL: No fewer than 60 days prior to the swimmer’s attempt each solo swimmer must provide details of his/her swimming experience and a detailed complete medical report issued within the calendar year of the swim by a licensed medical doctor. This excludes chiropractors.

19. NOTICE OF SWIM: A swimmer or representative must give CCSF no fewer than 60 days notice of the proposed departure of the pilot boat.

20. FAX ALL FORMS TO: Catalina Channel Swimming Federation: 866-910-3285 Send fees to: Tina Neill, 354 Agate Street, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 Send email to: [email protected]

21. SWIMS PRIOR TO 2011: All Catalina around-the-island swims prior to 2011 have been accepted as official.


1-6. Read aloud by Observer for all relays.

1. A relay team must meet all single and double GENERAL RULES that apply.

2. Each team shall consist of six swimmers.

3. Each swimmer shall swim for one hour each time he/she enters the water. This time is called "a leg".

4. On receipt of a time signal, the changeover to the new swimmer will be made as soon as is practically possible (should be within one minute) after the previous swimmer has completed his/her respective leg, but under no circumstances more than five minutes after the end of the previous swimmer's leg. In a takeover, the new swimmer must enter the water behind the preceding swimmer, and swim past him/her. The new swimmer must touch the preceding swimmer.

5. Team members must rotate in the same order throughout the swim.

6. Substitution of a swimmer can only occur before a team member enters the water for his/her first leg of the swim. The substitute must have been approved prior to the relay start as an alternate. He/she must be a member of CCSF.


1-2. Read aloud by Observer for all swims around Catalina Island.

1. All swims around the island must meet all GENERAL RULES that apply.

2. For a swim around Catalina Island to be officially recognized, a swimmer must start on the natural connecting shore of Catalina Island, swim a complete circuit around the island without coming ashore, and clear the water on the natural connecting shore at a point beyond the starting point.