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Southampton International Boat Show Swim

The unique, fun, bucket list sea swim for all abilities!

Register here
Open water swimming

Event details

Access the water from the Southampton International Boat Show pontoons and swim 1km in the iconic Southampton docks, past tall ships and super yachts.

Location: Harbour Parade, Southampton, SO15 1ST

Date: Saturday 21st September 2024

Time: 8am arrival, first swim wave 9am

Registration: £30

You can add an optional donation when you register and fundraise too!

Register here
Man wearing a swim cap

A unique swim for your bucket list

This is a rare opportunity to swim past tall ships and super yachts at Britain's biggest festival of boating, where there's normally no access for swimming.

Free early entry to the Boat Show

All swimmers get FREE entry to the Boat Show Festival and spectators get discounted entry at £19.99.

Southampton dock

Beginners and experienced swimmers both welcome!

This is a fun and non-competitive event suitable for everyone, whether you want to take on your first open water swim, or challenge your personal best! There will be a clock to time your swim if you wish.

Group of swimmers

Free expert advice fom an open water swimming coach

Scott Dawson, famous for swimming around the Isle of Wight, will be on hand on the day and in the lead up to the event, alongside other experienced sea swimmers, to provide top tips on swimming in open water.

Register here
Two swimmers holding medals
Hydrotherapy pool

Share your love of the water by fundraising!

Swimming has many therapeutic benefits for disabled young people, from physical therapy to ease pain and help joints and muscles, to the calm and fun sensory experience it provides to those who often have limited mobility.

Adding a donation on to your swim registration and choosing to fundraise through sponsorship makes a big splash here at Rose Road!

We fundraise to enhance our services, to offer the best experiences for every young person we support, no matter how complex and individual their need. From days spent in our hydrotherapy pool, to getting out and about, however much you choose to donate or fundraise you'll enable more disabled young people to be part of a community where they thrive, feel a sense of belonging and achieve their aspirations!

Event Information and FAQs

Cost to participate

Registration at the Early Bird rate (valid until 31st May) is £30, £40 thereafter. A medal is an additional £5 and every swimmer receives a commemorative pink swimming hat and event sew-on swimming badge. Your registration fee also includes FREE entry to the boat show. There is the option to add on an additional donation when you register, and to fundraise in support of your swim, to help us raise £5,000 for disabled children and young people through this unique event.

Distances and estimated times

Event distance

Swimming time
People usually take around 30 to 90 minutes to swim a distance of 1km.

Is the swim timed?

No, the swim is not competitive. However, there will be a clock available to those wanting to record their own time.

Will I get a medal for completing the event?

A medal will be available for a small additional fee. Every swimmer also receives a sew-on swimming badge and a goody bag with commemorative swimming cap.

How do I get there?

There are several ways to get to Southampton, see the Southampton International Boat Show Travel Information page to find the best method for you.

Can I bring anyone with me?

Yes, a spectator ticket is available which gives access to the Southampton International Boat Show at a discounted rate of £19.99. Swimmers can enter the Boat Show for free.

How old do I have to be to swim?

The minimum age is 18.

What photo ID must I bring with me?

We require a photo ID for swimmers to collect their registration packs. Please bring a passport, driving license or other photo ID card. We will accept a photocopy or an image on your phone. We must be able to clearly see the photograph, name and date of birth.

Are there toilets and changing facilities?

Yes – changing facilities are limited, please come swim ready if possible.

Is there food and drink available to purchase?

There are options to purchase food and drink, after your swim at the Boat Show. Spectators can also use these facilities.

Do I have to wear a wetsuit?

We recommend you wear a wetsuit. However, if you are an experienced outdoor swimmer you can choose to swim without one.

Do I have to wear a tow float?

This year, all participants must wear a ttow float during the swim.

Is there a safety boat?

A safety boat and kayaks will be on hand and accompanying all participants for the duration of the event.

Is the water safe to swim in?

While all open water swimming poses some risks to participants such as water quality, depth, current strength, hidden debris etc., we have risk assessed the event and are comfortable with hosting the event in its current location.

Based on the Surfers Against Sewage water quality map , there are no effluent discharge points in the stretch of Southampton water where we are holding the event.

Additionally, the port authority holds all its users to the highest of accounts in terms of environmental protection covering ballast discharge, sewage and tank washing.

We have full support from Associated British Ports (the Harbour Master for that stretch of water) and British Marine which runs the Southampton International Boat Show for swimmers to enter the water.

Can I access the Boat Show after my swim?

Yes, your swim entrance fee includes entrance to the boat show. Spectators also get specially discounted entry to the festival.