Kingdom Swim Safety Plan

 

All swimmers must be qualified by experience and a commitment to training. 15 milers should have completed at least a 6 mile open water swim before the end of 2016 and a 10 mile swim before July 1, 2017. 10 milers should have completed at least a 3 mile swim before the end of 2016 and a 6 mile swim on or before July 1st, 2017; 6 milers: at least a 2 mile swim before the end of 2014 and a 4 mile swim by July 1st, 2015; 3 milers: at least a 1 mile swim by the end of 2014 and a 2 mile swim by July 1st, 2015.  Qualifications are reviewed by the Race Director individually. Conditional qualifications are reviewed as swimmers report on their qualifying swims.

 

Water temperatures will range between 67 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The swim is run out of Prouty Beach a facility owned and operated by the City of Newport. Water Quality is monitored by the Department in full compliance with state law for public swimming areas and is posted. In the event that water quality dips below state approved standards, the swim will be postponed or canceled.

 

An optional safety meeting is held on Friday evening at 5:00 pm for all swimmers and kayakers. All swimmers and kayakers are required to attend a mandatory safety meeting at 7:30 am for the morning swims and 1:30 pm for the afternoon swims.

 

All swimmers in the 3, 6, 10 and 16 mile courses must be accompanied by a kayak or a paddleboard.  Kayakers are required to display a numbered bib and have a yello flag, both of which we provide.  Kayakers are also required to bring with them a cell phone and a whistle or an air horn and an extra pfd. We provide each kayaker with a single number to call in the event of an emergency.  The cell phone should be readily accessible, and it should have the designated Kingdom Swim phone number pre-programmed into it. Kayakers are instructed to signal for help with the flag and the whistle (air horn) if a swimmer is in distress, to toss a pfd to the swimmer, but to wait for a motorized patrol boat to pull a swimmer from the water.  They will be instructed, in the event of a swimmer in distress, to immediately notify emergency personnel of the issue by phone, in case boat response is slow.  We also gather cell phone numbers for every kayaker when they check in so that we can call them, if we have lost track of a particular swimmer.

 

Each swimmer is required to wear a cap which we provide (or one of equivalent color for the particular wave or course.).  Swimmers are marked with their number on their hand, arm, shoulder (back) and cap.  All swimmers are checked in as they enter a corral prior to the start of the swim and are checked off when they come out of the water, either at the finish line or if they are pulled during the swim.  We will check off all swimmers as they pass Buoy 3 and 5.

 

We recruit motorized boats to cover the course, including local law enforcement boats.  They are organized by a fleet commander, with specific designated locations for each boat that change as the swimmers progress along the course.  Every pilot has a cell phone.  Radios are provided to certain boats as well. Every boat has its own number to identify it and yellow Caution Race in Progress signs and other markers to display on the water. We meet on Tuesday before the event to go over deployment and safety information.  All boaters and officials are required to attend at least one of these two meetings, either in person or by phone. A list of participating boats and their cell phone numbers is provided to all motorized patrol boats along with a deployment chart with everyone’s assignment.  Each boat is also given a roster of participants. Several boats are designated to keep track of all swimmers who go by particular buoys. A central command is operated by our local police for coordinated communications and emergency rescue if needed.  Most boats work from anchored positions (even those that move from one part of the course to another during the swim.. Some patrol the line of swimmers, especially on some of the longer stretches. All boats have a spotter and a pilot. Our insurance covers these boats and their pilots in the event of an accident involving injury to others or damage to property.

 

A physician or nurse is present on the beach during the swim.

 

Ambulance and EMT service is on standby with two lake access points on the east side of the lake: (1) at Lakemont (on The Bluffs), and (2) at Prouty Beach. These locations are provided to each patrol boat. Both the ambulance and North Country Hospital are each located within a mile (a couple of minutes) of these eastside access points. We have a nurse, an EMT, or a physician on the beach at all times, ready to assess a swimmer in distress and authorized to call in the Ambulance. Several staff at Prouty Beach are also available for immediate transport of swimmers from the two access points to the hospital nearby.  We reserve the right to pull a swimmer in distress at our discretion and to pull any 15 mile swimmers after 10 hours, 10 mile swimmers after 7 hours in the water, any 6 miler after 5 hours and any 3 miler after 3 hours.  If a swimmer is pulled from the water and needs special attention, a law enforcement boat or emergency rescue team is called in to assist.

 

We reserve the right to delay the start, reschedule the swim to Sunday, or cancel it altogether should severe weather conditions warrant such action.  We have a meteorologist we consult individually before and during the swim and access to real time radar to warn us of changing conditions.  Either an independent Safety Officer or the race director has the authority to call off the swim, delay it, or terminate it. We have a uniform signal to evacuate the lake (three long sustained blasts of an air horn). In such an event we instruct patrol boats to move into the swimming lane near groups of swimmers and we tell swimmers to cluster around the nearest patrol boat so that they can be picked up in groups and transferred to the nearest dock on shore. (We have seven specially designated exit points, but in sudden, rapidly changing conditions, we instruct swimmers and yackers close to shore to simply vacate the lake as fast as possible.  (During much of the swim, the shore is within several hundred yards).

 

Kayakers are instructed to head to shore the minute their swimmers have been pulled. Patrol boats are instructed to assist remaining kayaks only after swimmers are ashore.  We require that each kayaker provide us with their cell phone number prior to the swim so that we can locate them in the event that the lake is evacuated.

 

Central Command is the coordinator of all on water activity.  It is staffed by Newport City Police using radio and phone equipment.  It has all of the cell phone numbers of all event coordinators and all patrol boats.  It has all charts of the course.  It coordinates by radio all requests for assistance.  It provides real time coordination between the ambulance and the rescue boats regarding emergency drop offs and pick ups.