Water Safety

The safety of swimmers is the number one priority of this event. It requires a coordinated effort from medical personnel and the Provincetown Rescue Squad on shore, and kayakers,  safety boats, Harbormaster, US Coast Guard and lifeguards on the water to ensure the safety of each and every swimmer. There is a special symbiotic relationship between swimmers and kayakers that creates a special bond. Please read our page about hypothermia.

Water Safety Update 2017

With increased attention in the media about a variety of shark sightings, particularly white sharks on ocean beaches and in Cape Cod Bay near seal populations, the Provincetown Community Compact, sponsor of the Provincetown Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla, would like to assure participants that swimmer and kayaker safety will continue to be the event’s top priority. Please see recent statement and activity.

To address this concern, and consistent with prior years, the Swim for Life is working closely with the Provincetown Harbormaster, who patrols the harbor for any unusual activities or animals and keeps a watch on the seal population in the harbor the morning of the event, alongside the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies’ research vessel, Ibis. The US Coast Guard will also be out on the water to assist in water safety.

We utilize similar protocols as the National Seashore in the event of confirmed sightings and response procedures.

If you need to contact the Provincetown Harbormaster’s Office, the phone #: 508 487-7030.

For information on ongoing Cape Cod research: Atlantic White Shark Conservancy

Swimmer Safety Update.

Swimmers will be given a ticket for transport to Long Point from three locations: MacMillan Wharf (via Ptown Trolley + Funk Bus), Flyer’s Boat Rentals and the Boatslip Beach. Logistically, this is most challenging – transporting 400+ swimmers to the Swim start in an efficient manner. Please cooperate with your assigned mode of transport – who knows who you might meet on the way! Upon arrival on the beach, please check in with one of the volunteers with a clip board and give your number. If you wish to wear a sweater to the start please bring a bag with your name and number  – it will be returned to Clothes Check at the Boatslip. Also, Mylar blankets will be available at Long Point if needed.

If you are transported in one of the larger boats, you will need to swim a short distance to Long Point beach for the Swim start.

Do not use Vaseline before you reach Long Point, it messes up the transport/boat seats. We will provide Valseline there.

Look for the red flag to arrive in the Harbormaster’s boat. Jay will walk through the swimmers with his megaphone before starting the event. Please let the competitive swimmers go first before entering the water.

The Swim lane will be marked with five, large, triangular, orange buoys. Head for the ORANGE TARPS at the Boatslip finish line (keep the monument slightly to your right, along with the water tower). Also, take wind, wave and water currents into account when swimming – incoming tides will push swimmers to the west (left from Long Point).  Be aware of rocks on the east side of the Swim lane near the shore (see image). SwimLane

A tired swimmer should signal one of the kayakers and hold on to the kayak’s bow (not the side). The swimmer should not attempt to climb into the kayak. Kayakers signal for assistance if needed by blowing their whistle and raising their paddle vertically over their head.

Click here for open water tips.

Registration The Swim is set for Saturday, September 9, 2017. Registration is the day of the event only, from 9-10:00am on the deck of the Boatslip Resort, 161 Commercial on Provincetown Harbor. If this is your first Swim, please join our mailing list for updates. Please bring your pledges with you (please do not send ahead to us. We, of course, accept pledges after the Swim, send to: Swim for Life, P.O. Box 819, Provincetown, MA 02657). The Swim begins at 10:30am from Long Point.

Wetsuits are available AFTER registration and are loaned to you for free. Three fourths of the swimmers wear them, many have their own. First time swimmers, especially thin males, are encouraged to wear one. Water temperature is generally in the mid-60s, a typical summer temperature.

Non-competitive and competitive swimmers are welcome, as well as paddlers and boaters.

Each swimmer must sign a liability release form and will be given a coupon for a t-shirt and be given a numbered swim cap, which must be worn while in the water. A number will also be written on your arm or leg. For safety purpose, swimmers’ numbers will be recorded at Long Point before the start and the list will be brought back to the finish line to verify your return. If you don not finish the swim for any reason, you must check in at the finish line to assure your safety.

Pledge Information

We set up individual “giving pages” as an option for swimmers, kayakers and others who would like to manage their fundraising online. After experimenting with several options, we have selected FirstGiving.

Here are the options: :

1. Check + Cash: No fee. The traditional way and it costs the Swim no fees; FirstGiving

2. FirstGiving: We have been pleased with this and how easy it is for swimmers to raise pledges. Also, over 50% of those who pledge pay the FirstGiving charge, lowering their fee (credit card charge is a standard 2.5%). FirstGiving fee, 7.5%). Participants may set up a personal online donation page with stories, photos, etc. and collect pledges through the site. Many swimmers exceed their goal because of easy online access for individual pledges. Please bring a printout of your total when you register.

TO SET UP A TEAM THROUGH FIRSTGIVING: To register as a team, you’ll each have individual pages, and you’ll also have a team page grouping them together. You’ll each have to sign up as individuals separately. The first person will sign up and also CREATE the new team, and the other people will sign up and just JOIN that team.

Here are the steps:
Go to http://www.firstgiving.com/TheCompactSwim4Life/2017
Click the Green JOIN NOW button
Select Swimmer or Paddler
Log in to your FirstGiving account.
Enter the details for your TEAM PAGE
Check the waiver box and click NEXT
Create your PERSONAL fundraising page
The other folks on the team will do the same thing but instead of creating a new team they will just select to JOIN a team and search for the team you’ve created.


Thanks for your successful fundraising efforts. Let us know what works for you. We are grateful.