Updated January 2018                                     

 RETURN TO HOME PAGE                              

Standard letter & information for 2018 onwards


Click on the above links to go direct to the listed section.

Pedro Boats UK / CS&PS - Channel Swimming & Piloting Services.
CS&PF - Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation. 

Below is a brief outlook of the information that will outline the preperation and registration
involved to get started on ther searches reference swimming the English Channel. 
It will give you a starting point with most of the answers that someone seriously 
contemplating swimming the English Channel needs. There is a lot more information within 
the web site pages on this site and the CS&PF web site www.cspf.co.uk plus the archives 
files on the 'Swimmers Chat site'.
The "Swimmers chat site" is a independent forum and "virtual club" used by swimmers 
and interested parties world wide as a way to communicate with each other and pass on 
It is part of Goggle Groups setup with a comprehensive web site offering an archive of 
past messages with  extensive search facilities.
If you would like to be invited please send the e-mail address with your request to
the CS&PF secretary. The e-mail link is ------------   secretary@cspf.co.uk
NOTE-  Please make sure any e-mails sent have "Channel swimming" in the subject line 
(The team or persons  name or initials for identification would help). 

English Channel swimming is and open water swimming are made up of 2 main groups at
the moment:
Wet suit swims - As of 2018 the registration for and recognisation of Wet Suit swims wil be
available through Pedro Boats UK / CS&PS (Channel Swimming & Piloting Services).
For Wet Suit swims registered through Pedro Boats UK / CS&PS and swum under the CS&PS 
rules there will be a system of certification for ceompleted successful solo and relay team 
swims and a database listing successful swims.

"Standard swims" - These swims are the recognised swims that take place under the CS&PF 
rules. See the CS&PF web site www.cspf.co.uk.
The CS&PF is now the biggest organisation reference "standard" English Channel Swimming. 
The office database holds a comprehensive list of all "standard" English Channel swims that
have been ratified by a recognised organisation. It includes the latest list of the swimming 
records for all the ratified swim attempts since Captain Webb in August 1875.
The Federation is run by volunteers - not paid staff - to help swimmers realise their dreams 
of attempting to swim the English Channel. While It does Its best to manage things efficiently 
please remember that the volunteers all have other work to do and full time businesses to run 
or jobs to go to. The CS&PF are now recognised as one of the Governing bodies of English
Channel Swimming as well as being a world wide club offering assistance and guidance 
to anyone who has a "English Channel dream"

Please understand that Channel Swimming is both an “Extreme & Endurance” sport. Safety 
has to come first, second and third. There is a reason for the rules that the pilots and 
orgasations work under and the paperwork requested is to make your swim attempt as safe 
as possible. 

You have a "Duty of Care" to yourself and your team to be as 'best prepared' as possible 
and understand the task you are taking on. 
 If you need help and information setting up your swim, training or general advise the best 
way to get it is through the web pages, and to become a member of the "swimmers chat site".  
That way you can ask questions, add your comments, and get a lot of help and advice from 
other swimmers and trainers. You can also find out if anyone local to you is training for a 
swim or has tried one. The "Chat site" is a free site that any open water swimmers and 
interested persons can join. It is not a CS&PF only chat site. 

You check the availability of CS&PF / CS&PS pilots and reserve places by going to the pilots 
direct, the organisations offices do not always have an up to date list unfortunately.
(See the "Pilots & Escort boats" pages for Pilot information and their e-mail addresses).

By going direct to the pilot you will find out first hand what is still available. Do not commit 
yourself to a pilot booking until you are sure you want to make an attempt. You will be signing 
a legally binding agreement and any monies paid are usually NON  REFUNDABLE. You will 
usually have to pay a booking fee to confirm your place. Once you have decided to make 
your commitment agree terms and dates with the pilot and pay the booking fee or deposit to
confirm your reservation. Your pilot will advise you what happens next.

Make sure you understand how the pilots work and what their terms of business are as laid 
out in their contracts. Confirm payment methods and when the deposits need to be paid by. 

Your pilots swim contract is an agreement between you and the pilot - The pilots are all 
running the own businesses. The CS&PF and Pedro Boats UK / CS&PS recognise and 
register the pilots included on their list but It has no involvement in setting up, arranging or 
collecting any pilots fees.

You should keep a copy of everything in a personal file for future reference.
Always keep a copy of the pilot contract and the CS&PF application plus any medical forms.
The swim registration and swim fees are a separate item to your pilots fees. 
You will be sent out or given the online links to this paperwork once your pilot has confirmed 
your reservation. The pilot will inform the office when the completed contracts and deposits 
are received. This paperwork is sent out from the beginning of January in the year of your 
swim for completion in the year of your swim. This is usually by e-mail to the e-mail address 
you have supplied the pilot with. The office usually keeps an e-mail trail for each swim.


YOU MUST  complete the paperwork and APPLICATION  forms and 
return them to the relevant office as soon as possible.

CS&PF "standard swim" Application forms must be submitted by the 1st April

If you can not work within this time frame YOU MUST talk to the office well in 
advance to see what can be arranged.


We often get asked, "When is the best time to swim"? 
This is a complicated question to answer. 

The Channel Swimming season is usually from late June to the end of 
September/ beginning of October. ------ 

In June and early July the water is still warming up and can be anything 
around the 14°C to 16°C (58 to 61°F) mark - but the days are longer and 
the air temperature usually "warm". 
At the end of July beginning of August the water is warming up - around 
the 17°C (62°F) and the air temperature is still good but the weather can 
be unsettled. 
End of August and beginning of September the water should be about 
18°C to 19°C - but the days are getting shorter and the air temperature is 
often dropping to the 15°C 58°F mark. 
Mid to the end of September the water is often at its warmest but the days 
are short and the air temperature during daylight is often around the same
 as the water temperature or lower. The nights are cold.
A quick summery is that --- 
No time is a good time and you cannot predict  what is going to happen with
the weather much more than 5 days in advance, a couple of days is often the limit.
This applies to any time of the year for the Channel.
Weather Forecasts can be obtained from many different sources on the internet.
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk    ----- Is the main one on which the pilots use. 
Most of the other sites are based on this Met office data. 
Everything can be scoured from this site but it can be technical and involved.  

http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather   ---  A simpler version of the above with lots of information. 
Gives you the shipping forecast - inshore waters forecast - Local forecast - 
coastal weather forecast (up to 12 miles out to sea) - 
the synopsis charts for both the British isles and the Atlantic (use Atlantic charts) - 
a 5 day perdition of local weather (not very often right). 
This site explains weather and has a lot of interesting reading in it's  articles.

Sandette lightship weather site - 
24 hour record of what is actually happening in the Channel. 
(With reference to the wave height readings - these are about ½ of the wave height.)

http://www.xcweather.co.uk   ---- A interesting site for weather around the UK and Europe. 
It is linked to the data buoys like the one above and gives you a five day prediction. 
This site is good to watch but is not very accurate for forecasting in advance.
It is a good example of how the "predictions" vary from the "actual" wind. 
It will help you realise the Channel is a very unpredictable and temperamental place.
Just -- "Hope for best and prepare/ expect the worst." – That’s Channel swimming.

The official CS&PF web site for "Standard swims" is www.cspf.co.uk  with the rules, 
pilot information etc on it.

The official Pedro Boats UK/ CS&PS web site for "Wet Suit swims" is this web site -

As mentioned at the top of the page - there is a "chat" site to which you can be invited, 
(it is totally free but by invitation only), just let the CS&PF secretary - secretary@cspf.co.uk 
know if you want to join.  
You can use the chat site to ask questions, make connect with other swimmers and 
members and search the archives for information previously sent in reference the many 
questions that have been asked. The chat site web page has search facilities to help 
you find information in its vast collection of past e-mails and is easy to use. 
The pilots swim fees are usually set around October the  year before your swim season. 
This is because this is usually the earliest period when the pilots can assess their expenses 
for the coming year. As a guide, our pilot/escort boat fees for the 2018 season are set at 
£2900  for a 1-way crossing -  
The non-returnable booking fee and/or deposit secures your booking 
(Our booking fee is £500 for 2018 onwards -- the deposit is £1200).
You need to agree and sign your pilots contact and return the deposit to confirm  your 

See the pilots / Escort Boat links on the home page.

All the pilots have slightly different systems for contract wording and payments. 

Check with your pilot as to their terms BEFORE you commit The booking fees and 
deposits are all non- refundable if you cancel after their payment.   

Some pilots send out the pilot contracts at the end of October when they have an idea 
of their expenses and have set their fees. Some send out the contracts as they receive 
the bookings and confirm the fees later.
You - the swimmer - usually have until the middle of December to complete and return your 
signed pilots contract plus your deposit. The deposit confirms your booking and is the 
reference used by the offices to send out the application and medical forms. 
The pilot has the right to re-book the place if deposits and contracts are not completed 
and returned by their set date (usually mid December). .           
For your own peace of mind complete your paperwork early. The office decision is final in 
all registration matters once the set completion dates have past.
The 6 hour assessment swim for solo swimmers can be completed at any time up from 
18 months to 14 days before your swim tide starts. 

The 2 hour qualifying swim for relay team members is the same -  completion can be from 
18 months before to 14 days before your swim tide starts . 

The team leader of any relay swim is responsible for co-ordinating and collecting the proof
of 2 hour. These accessment 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 distance that is 
often exceeded while training. DO NOT treat them as a training target for a successful swim.  

These assessment swims are part of the "Duty of Care" and awareness programme.
English Channel Swimming is an Extreme endurance Sport that can result in injury or even 
death. By confirming the assessment swims you are confirming you understand the risks 
involved and you accept the responsibility of assessing your abilities to make your attempt. 

Team leaders are undertaking this assessment on behalf of the relay team swim members 
they are organising. Make sure everything is completed correctly and your assessments are 
rationalised and valid for the attempt you and / or your group are undertaking.
All assessment swims have to be ratified in writing by the swimmer and the person who has 
observed while the swim took place. 



The usual system for booking priority is that pilots book up to 4 places per each set 
of neap tides, usually 2/3 places on the Spring tides. Check with your pilot to confirm 
his system.
These swims are in order of  number 1 first then down to number 4.
This is the order in which the swimmers are "OFFERED A CHANCE TO SWIM".

The Swimmers abilities and wishes are all different and Channel swimming 
is very dependant on the weather so if the first swimmer in line is offered 
the chance to swim and says “No” the place will be offer to the next in line - 
and so on until someone accepts the offer or everyone has turned it down.

On the next good swim day the system starts again with the 1st in line being 
offered the swim to the remaining swimmers in their priority. 
This system means that the number 1 person can choose the day they want
 to swim on but if they decline to swim other swimmers get the option offered 
to them on that tide. 
The pilots swim  contract is made directly with the pilot you choose and 
is between you and the pilot. The pilots are financially independent and 
operate as businesses in their own rights. All the CS&PF skippers/pilots are
qualified as required by the MCA to captain their vessels. They hold commercial 
endorsements on their qualifications. All the pilot vessels are commercially
certificated as required by law. They are registered with the British and 
French Coastguard's annually by the CS&PF.  
A Guide to the successful booking procedure 
1.      Select the year and tidal period you want to book.
	     Check with the pilots to see which pilots have places free. 
         Confirm the reservation with the pilot for the tidal period you want. 
2.      The pilot will then hold the position (if it is available) for a short period  
         and e-mail/confirm with you the booking fee request.  

3.      AGREE TREMS and confirm your acceptance of the position offered .
4.      The pilot will confirm the reservation and send you instructions and confirm 
		 when the pilots contract will be sent to you.    
5.      Sign and return your pilots contract with your deposit or booking 
          fee to Finalise your booking.
6.      The pilot will tell the office when the booking is finalised and 
         the completed contract and deposit has been received. 
Make sure you are definitely prepared to commit yourself to booking the
place before finalising it. Please note the pilots booking fees and deposits 
are non returnable and required to confirm the swim place bookings. 
If you have a problem with the deadlines talk to your pilot and the office - 
They can not guarantee to be able to solve your concerns but they will try. 
Applications and bookings made after the deadline can be processed 
by the office but only by arrangement and they can not guarantee they 
will be completed in time for the swim. Talk to the office before committing 
to a booking with the pilot if you are making a late reservation.    
Please read the swim rules - pilots escort contracts - and the forms fully and 
understand them before completing and signing them. They are binding and 
explain what you are committing to. 
Please keep a copy of all your paperwork.     
The main points are often repeated more than once above to try and make 
sure you know exactly what you are contemplating and how the system works.