Swim Information 2022

Below are some guidelines to help you through the booking process with us “Ellis Marine Services” on board our pilot vessel “High Hopes” and your CS&PF or KCSC swim application.


Pilot booking & Contract:

The cost for a solo / relay, 1-way swim for the 2022 season is £3,100

Payment structure as follows:

The cost for solo / relay, 2-way swims are double all above pay structure

It is important that you READ & UNDERSTAND your channel swim pilot contract which will be sent once you have chosen a swim date & slot and clarify what you are agreeing to before you (and any team members) sign as this is a legally binding document. The terms and conditions are on page 2 of the pilot’s contract.

We will notify the CS&PF or the KCSC office the first week of January 2022, depending on type of swim you wish to undertake and that your swim reservation is confirmed (booking fee, contract returned & deposit paid)  they will then contact you by email with your 2022 application form. Please confirm everything reference your swim application directly with the CS&PF office (office@cspf.co.uk) or the KCSC office (office@kentcoastalswimmingchallenges.com) and cc us (channelpilot@ellismarineservices.com) in to ALL correspondents

Channel Swimming & Pilot Federation

Before you start to complete the paperwork please READ THE CS&PF RULES and information on the CS&PF web site: www.cspf.co.uk .

NOTE: You can only get the 2022 CS&PF application and medical forms from the CS&PF office and you can only use the forms sent to you which are specific to the year of your swim. This is so that the CS&PF office can regulate and track the swim reservations. Check the CS&PF web site for the latest arrangements for registration.


Paperwork timetable

  1. Return your pilot’s contract to us with your deposit no later than 30th November 2021
  2. Payment methods: Bank transfer (preferred method) or Cash
  3. The CS&PF will be in contact with you in early January 2022 once we have sent our swim list to the federation
  4. Book your medical examination – there are often long delays in getting appointments.
  5. Fill in your CS&PF application form and return it – as soon as possible. It must be with the CS&PF office before 1st April. (see CS&PF rules, application dates & deadlines)
  6. Read through and check the CS&PF application form and medical before you post it to make sure you have filled it in correctly and it is signed it in all places that are required.
  7. Return your CS&PF medical to the office as soon as possible – check it thoroughly BEFORE you leave the doctors surgery — 50% of CS&PF medicals are missing signatures or information when first sent to the office.
  8. Your application must be sorted and finalised by the agreed registration closing dates. If you have problems or delays inform the CS&PF office and explain your position.
  9. The CS&PF must register all the seasons booked swims with the British and French Coastguard authorities by the first week of June 2021 at the latest.
  10. Tell your pilot and the CS&PF office of any changes, problems or cancellations quickly to limit your commitments for the swim balance fee.
  11. Relay Team leaders are responsible for sorting out their team’s paperwork and submitting it to the CS&PF office as a unit.
  12. Swim assessments must be observed and ratified in writing by an observer. The observer and the swimmer both must confirm in writing that the swim was completed as required by the CS&PF rules. The paperwork for these swims is on the CS&PF web site or obtainable via the CS&PF office.
  13. We can offer swim assessments along the Kent coast alongside “High Hopes”, see our page Training Swims & Assessments for further detail 

Over the last couple of years, we are noticing international swimmers arriving in the UK the evening before their tide window opens and / or departing Dover the early hours the day after their tide window closes. This has greatly impacted on their chances of making an English Channel swim due to Jet lag, lack of acclimatization to sea / air temperature, travel plans, accommodation and the biggest being swims getting delayed due to the unpredictable weather conditions of the English Channel and then expecting their swim to be deferred to the following year. This is not expectable and we will not defer any  swim to the following year

UK swimmers need to be flexible and we can discuss travel times

We are very keen to meet you all before your swim. When you arrive in Dover give us a call, we normally get together on board “High Hopes” or on the beach in Dover to have a chat, answer any questions and have a look around “High Hopes” so the day of the swim all feels familiar. Just to let all swimmers know there is a very high chance you will be swimming in the dark at some point of your channel swim.

If you wish an attempt to swim the English Channel while wearing a wetsuit, please let us know so the swim can be registered through KCSC (www.kentcoastalswimmingchallenges.com) to gain permission by the British & French authorities. 

 Always remember:        

Swimmers live on adrenaline, dreams and ego…Pilots work on reality and safety.

Know your limitations before you exceed them.

Notes reference – Booking Priority, swimming and our system

Below are some explanations and answers to the most frequently asked questions? We have added them to help swimmers who want to try and understand what happens, when and why.

Booking Priority

Our system for booking priority is –

2 places are booked per set of Neap tides. 2 places are booked on the Spring tides.

The first swimmer/team on the tide is/are offered the chance to swim, if they say no we will offer the place to the next in line and so on until someone accepts the offer. On the next good swim day available we start with the first in line again and offer the swim to the swimmers in priority until the position is accepted. This system means that the slot 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.

If a swimmer is offered a chance to swim and turns it down but is then unable to swim later because of the weather or other reasons they will have forfeited their full swim fee. 

NOTE: We reserve the right to

  1. Move a slot (Solo or relay) to allow international swimmers the chance to swim if the tide window is affected by weather
  2. Move a relay swim to another slot on the same tide if we feel that the window would be better suited to a solo swim

Estimated crossing times

We ask this so we can assess the swim window required for the swim, please be truthful as we want to give the swimmer/s the best opportunity for the crossing