Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation "Nothing great is easy", Captain Matthew Webb

Booking a Swim 

Booking a Swim 

This is a short guide to booking a Channel Swim.

Before you start, please read each of the steps below, as well as reviewing the Rules and other information on this website:

1. Select the year and tidal period you want to book. To do this, you must check with the pilots to see which ones have places free.

2. Confirm the reservation with the pilot for the tidal period you want. The pilot will then hold the position (if it is available) for a short period and e-mail you the booking request.

NOTE: You can get an idea of the fees which pilots charge and the staged payment of any reservation fee, deposit and balance at Each pilot sets his own fees. These are between you and the pilot. These are not controlled by the CS&PF in any way. 

3. Agree the terms and confirm your acceptance of the position offered by the pilot.

4. The pilot will confirm the reservation and send you instructions and a contract for the position.

NOTE: Please check your contract carefully - it is your responsibility to satisfy yourself that the terms of the contract reflect the terms of your booking, before you sign it. Each pilot runs a separate business to the CS&PF, so your booking will create a contract solely between you and the pilot. The CS&PF is not a party to that contract and does not prescribe the terms on which pilots contract swimmers, nor assist with the collection of any fees due to the pilot. In the event of any issue arising under your contract, the CS&PF is unable to intervene.

5. Sign and return your pilot's contract with your deposit or booking fee to finalise your booking. Send this fee to the pilot, not the CS&PF. The CS&PF has no involvement in setting, arranging or collecting any pilot's fees.

NOTE: Pilots typically impose a contractual deadline for payments you should check in your pilot’s contract when these payments are needed to be made by. You are advised to pay your pilot well in advance, to avoid the risk of your booking being cancelled by the pilot. Further, non-payment of the deposit by the deadline may not just enable the pilot to re-book your place but may also give the pilot the right still to require payment of the deposit in full – PLEASE CHECK YOUR CONTRACT CAREFULLY.

6. You do not need to inform the CS&PF office before 1st January in the year of your swim, only once your swim position is booked with your pilot and the contract has been signed and deposit paid.  When you do, please do so only by [email from your personal email address]. You should state your full name, name of pilot and swim-booking details (i.e.: number on tide and start-date of that tide). This allows the CS&PF office to check with the pilot that you have a valid pilot-booking.

7. The CS&PF office will then contact you to let you know it has the information it needs for your pilot booking. It will also provide you with the necessary forms, fee-payments and other steps to enable you to complete the necessary swim registration-process, or (if you make contact before the year of your swim) to let you know that it will be contacting you in January for this purpose). 

8. Make sure that you complete and submit the forms and make all payments as and when directed. You must use the forms supplied by the CS&PF office and not the version on the website or any other version, in case there are updates.

NOTE: Before you book your pilot, you should familiarise yourself with the forms which will apply to you. Those for the current year can be found within the form’s directory at You can also get an idea of the corresponding CS&PF fees by checking the fee-rates for the current year at

9. The deadline for the CS&PF office to receive your fully completed application for a relay or solo Channel Swim-attempt (including payment of all CS&PF admin & swim fees), is 30th April membership fee to be paid separately).

10. If not already submitted, the deadline for submitting a fully and properly completed Medical Form and Assessment Swim Form for every swimmer covered by an application, is no later than 2 weeks prior to the first day of your swim tide or no later than 30th April, whichever is earlier.

NOTE: Your Swim Assessment Form must certify that you have achieved the following during training in water temperature of 61°F/16°C or less at any stage from 18 months before your swim:

For SOLO swims, a 6-hour swim at least 14 days before your swim tide period starts.

For RELAY swims, a 1.5 hour’s swim then leave the water for a minimum of 1 hour and a maximum of 1.5 hours – then return to the water and swim for 1 more hour. The team leader is responsible for confirming with the office the relay's certified swims, provided that this must be done for ALL the team members collectively.

These qualifying swims are to make sure swimmers are aware of the challenge they are taking up and to give them a taste of what to expect. They are short swims compared to the actual crossing and should become a target that is often exceeded while training.

DO NOT treat them as a training target for a successful swim.

11. If you cannot meet any of these deadlines, then your swim registration may be cancelled by the CS&PF in its discretion, in which event your Swim fee and Admin fee (if paid) would be forfeited and not liable to be repaid.

NOTE: Should you miss a deadline then you should notify the CS&PF office immediately. There is no right to have a deadline extended, but if in the discretion of the CS&PF office it is able to extend your deadline, then a supplemental administration fee of [£25] shall become payable and any such extension would not imply a right for a further extension or a right to an extension for anyone else.

Please note that cancellation of an application for, or registration of, a swim, shall not affect your membership of the CS&PF (unless separately cancelled by the CS&PF) and there is no right to repayment of the membership fee in any event.

Occasionally a late booking can be made by special arrangement with the CS&PF Office but you are strongly advised not to commit to a pilot-booking unless and until the CS&PF office have been able to confirm if this is possible and what additional requirements will apply (including any supplemental administrative fees that may be payable and would be determined at the time).


Sandettie Lightship Observations

8am, 28th March 2024

Water: 49.3 °F (9.6 °C)

Air: 47.5 °F (8.6 °C)

Wind Speed: 26.0 kn (48.2 km/h)

Wind Direction: SW (220°)

Channel Weather 

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