2016 Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim Skipper Newsletter - 24 February 2016

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Three sleeps to go!
Highly regarded worldwide and one of Western Australia's iconic events, the Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim is a 19.7km open water swim from Cottesloe Beach to Rottnest Island. Whether competing as a solo, duo or team, the Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim is a 'team' event with all swimmers surrounded by a support network of paddlers, boat skippers and crew. The event, managed by the Rottnest Channel Swim Association, is held in February of each year and is Rottnest Island's biggest day.
The 2016 Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim has arrived!

This Saturday, over 2,500 swimmers will take part in the world's largest open water swimming event!

Swimmers will depart Cottesloe Beach and swim 19.7km across the Indian Ocean to celebrate with friends and family on Rottnest Island. It is important you take the time to reflect on the safety information provided at the 2016 Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim Event Briefing. If you didn't attend the briefing, you can watch it online.

This edition of the skippers' newsletter includes the final event reminders to assist with your final preparations.

The Rottnest Channel Swim Association (RCSA) wishes your team a safe and successful crossing!


We will be regularly posting weather updates on the event website as soon as they come to hand. Regardless of the weather forecast leading up to the event, the decision for the event to proceed is not made until approximately 4.00am on the Saturday morning of the event.

All solo swimmers, team captains (duos and teams), and all skippers will receive a GO or NO GO confirmation text message between approximately 4.00am and 4.30am on Saturday, 27 February. Please make sure you have with you the mobile registered as part of your swimmer's registration (they nominated a phone number for you).

Further to this, the message will be broadcast on VHF 77.

Is your VHF radio race-ready?

A reminder to skippers that the Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim only supports VHF radios. While each registrant has confirmed they will be using a VHF radio, for the avoidance of doubt, Channel Swim Base does not support 27 meg radios.

It is a requirement of the Event that you have a working VHF radio. Spot checks will be conducted throughout the day by compliance personnel and authorities.

Communication will be made via VHF 77 for race-related matters or VHF 16 for emergencies. If you have the facility to do so, we highly recommend you dual watch these channels. As soon as you hit the water, turn your radio on and the volume up!

Download your Rotto Swim GPX File!

Our friends at Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue Group (FVSRG) have kindly plotted the GPS coordinates for your 2016 Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim and is available to be downloaded.

The GPX file will include the rhumb line (most direct route to the finish line), northern boundary, and the start and finish channel markers.

Download 2016 Rotto Swim GPX File

Start Line Procedure for Support Boats

This year there are a couple of changes relating to the start procedure for support boats.

Firstly, there are no holding areas. There are boundaries on the north and south of the Start Channel. The southern boundary is marked by two green buoys (adjacent to Pearse St) and the northern boundary is marked by two orange buoys (adjacent to Eric St). The area between the boundary buoys and the Start Channel is an exclusion zone, until you are called forward by the Boat Coordinator on VHF 77.

The second change is the time support boats will be called to move toward the Start Channel. Support boats will be called forward at the time of their swimmer's wave. For example, if your swimmer leaves the beach at 5.55am, you will be called forward at this time. This will allow sufficient time to get into position per your meet plan. Please remember not to move forward until the Boat Coordinator has called your wave. And please be considerate of others as you approach the Start Channel. Unless you are in the first wave, there will be support boats from the previous waves still waiting for their swimmer. You have time, so please be patient.

Finish Channel

Those who have skippered before know how stressful the finish can be, and those who haven't would have heard horror stories from others...

We are always looking for ways to better manage the congestion and troublesome aspects of the course. Please note this year's changes relating to the Finish Channel:

  • Yachts and 10m+ powered boats are required to exit at the 18km gate (Phillip Rock). Powered boats less than 10m may also exit at the 18km gate (Phillip Rock), but it is not a requirement. Swimmers whose support vessels are leaving them at 18km are required to be accompanied by a tender (until 19km) and/or paddler (until 19.25km).
  • There is one red buoy located at the 18km gate. This is being set as wide as possible.
  • There are orange buoys on the north side set at 18.25km, 18.5km and 18.75km. Although not displayed on the finish channel map, there will be yellow buoys set at the same intervals on the south side (in line with Phillip Rock). We strongly advise that support boats remain out of the finish channel (on the north side of the northern buoys or south side of the southern buoys), and only come in for swimmer changeovers, as required.
Please remember that if your post-race destination is on the south side, you want to be on this side prior to 18km, and vice versa if your post-race destination is on the north side.

Protocol for Emergency Situations

To assist in preparing for emergency situations ensure that you:

  • Know your race number and use it as your call sign; 
  • Clearly display your race number boat stickers on both sides of your support boat and paddle craft above the water line;
  • Please ensure your VHF radio is on and the volume turned up to ensure emergency vessels can make contact with you.
  • Have seasickness provisions on board your support boat and procedures for treatment of both swimmers and support crew;
  • Pack basic First Aid supplies for minor afflictions including sunburn, dehydration, mild hypothermia and stingers;
  • Ensure the support crew equips themselves with adequate food, fluids and sun protection for during and after the event.
For more information, refer to page 7a of the 2016 Yearbook for procedures on Mayday Emergencies, Pan-Pan Emergencies, Missing Swimmers or Support Crew, Resuscitation, Hypothermia, Jellyfish, Sunburn, Shark Attack, and Dangerous Weather. Our skipper protocols also contains a boat safety and lighting checklist to make sure you are fully equipped from sunrise to sunset over at the finish line.

Stay up to date with the Rotto Swim Apps!

Did you know our Rotto Swim app has a fresh new look?! The app has had a makeover to include easy access to both the Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel and Champions of the Channel websites and social media accounts. The latest Rotto Swim app is available for iPhones and android phones so jump in!

We also encourage you to check out the MapSwim app which was designed by soloist, Andrew Hunt. MapSwim is great for family and friends who have missed out on joining you on the support boat as it tracks your swimming progress.

Please download the latest version of MapSwim and remember to test it with your swimmer details before event day for the best results. A great idea is to organise a 12V power source to keep on the support boat so that your phone has enough battery life for when you reach Rottnest. Please check out www.mapswim.com/support/ for more info and set up instructions.

Last minute enquiries

Just a reminder the RCSA office is incredibly busy finalising logistics for the event. If you do have a question or enquiry, please head to the frequently asked questions (FAQs) page of the event website or refer to a copy of the 2016 Yearbook.

Alternatively you may reach out to other swimmers via the event Facebook page or on our RCSA Forum. If your enquiry is urgent and cannot be found through these mediums, please email enquiries@rottnestchannelswim.com.au and we will endeavour to answer your question as soon as possible.

Thank you in advance for your understanding as we complete the finishing touches to the event.


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