If you read this blog much you’ll know that my swims are rarely solo affairs. All of the BLDSA point-to-point events I enter require each swimmer to have a support boat with them. Sometimes it’s a kayaker, other times (especially on Windermere) it’s a rowing boat.
The reason for the support boats is primarily safety – if the swimmer gets into any difficulties then the support boat can be used for physical support and the kayaker or crew can attract the attention of the safety teams. This level of safety is hugely important and is something the BLDSA prides itself on. The other reasons for the support boat are to help with navigation and also feeding.
But what it means is that without that support, we can’t swim.
And as swimmers we are VERY grateful to the people that provide that support.
But it also means that we’re always on the look out for kayakers. Would you fancy it? Or how about anyone you know?
If you’re already competent in a kayak, or possibly even a member of a kayak club, then what it means for you is a nice day out on the water in beautiful scenery. If you’re not yet an experienced kayaker, but fancy it, then maybe you could start to train up for the season as the swimmers are putting in the swimming training.
If this is something that you could help with, then PLEASE do get in touch. I’d like to start a list of people who would be willing to volunteer and then put you in touch with swimmers that need boat support. I’m running the Coniston event for the BLDSA this year (on Sunday 24th July), so I’m particularly focussed on that event, but I’d like to keep an active list for other events too.
This is something separate to the BLDSA and not ‘authorised’ by them, but I’m hopeful that it will help a lot of potential BLDSA swimmers. My goal is to put volunteer kayakers in touch with swimmers in need and allow them to arrange things. Any arrangement would then be between yourselves and be a completely private thing, but it is often the norm for swimmers to pay something towards the kayaker’s costs, so it would be perfectly reasonable for you to ask / expect that.
Please, please, please get in touch if you would be willing to kayak and please, please, please pass this on to anyone you know you is a kayaker or in a kayak club.
From all the swimmers out there – thank you.
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Thanks for all the comments and offers to support so far, please keep them coming. My plan is to get in touch with you all privately over the next few days so that I can create a list that can be shared with swimmers that need a kayaker. Thanks again.