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Saturday, November 2, 2013

No Refund, Why Not?

We just read a reasonable justification about the money that is spent by race directors prior to the start of an open water swim.

The explanation was produced by the NYC Swim and posted here.

The NYC Swim explanation describes the organization's efforts, "We do our best to keep the swim price reasonable and provide a high value in return.

The fee includes all support services, from event planning and the pre-race webinars to boat and kayak support, on-water race officials, souvenir T-shirts for you and your crew, and more.

Bottom-line, the Manhattan Swim is a logistical challenge that requires an entire year to plan and implement. Unlike other major open water events, this race takes place around one of the world’s most expensive locales and one that is not friendly to water-based human-powered events. Everything in New York is expensive. While we rely on the generosity of volunteers, we also spend considerable money in advance to secure the resources, locations, security personnel, safety personnel, food venues, meeting spaces, permits, insurance, and more. Even if the event is canceled at last minute, due to forces beyond our control such as weather or government shutdown, almost all monies paid at the time of enrollment—except for race-day boater stipends—have been used to spent on the supplies, services, and/or service providers.

The Manhattan Island Marathon Swim is not just a 7-10-hour swim around Manhattan. It entails more than a half-dozen locations (North Cove, South Cove, Pier 25, Peter J. Sharp Boathouse, Pier 40, Parking Garage, pre-event meeting space, and post-event restaurant), several hundred individuals (swimmers, crew, boaters, paddlers, boat crew, race observers, race marshals, ambulance drivers, EMTs, security guards, staff for all the locations, and land-based volunteers), and the proprietary website that ties all the disparate parties together and tracks the swimmers.

The expenses that follow, and listed in no particular order, are just a “few” of the non-recoverable expenditures: ambulance services, awards (non-medals), portable bathroom rentals, boat banners (required by the Coast Guard), boat captain outreach/recruitment, bookkeeping, swim caps, credit card fees, directional signage, website domain and hosting, EMTs, power boats, volunteer/paddler snacks and meals, GPS tracking devices, insurance, paddler outreach and recruitment including trade show booths, kayak rentals, legal services, marine whistles, medals (swimmers and paddlers), marine radio purchases, mylar blankets, power boat docking fees, paddler bibs, vehicle (cars/trucks) parking fees, permits for multiple locations, PR and social media support, pre-race meeting space rental and webinars, race communication support, race buoys (plus ropes and anchors), spectator “SCRIM”/fencing, multiple site plans design and layout, on-water operational staff, over-night security for kayaks stowage, restaurant, shirts, shuttles, staff (pre-race and race day), storage rental, gasoline and toll reimbursement for paddlers/volunteers, goody bags, vehicle rental, videography, and website development

Similarly, many race directors around the world incur non-recoverable expenses before any fees are received from swimmers. Some race directors make money and the best of them re-invest it in the sport, their local swimming communities and their swims (like World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year nominees Doug Woodring, Pádraig Mallon, Rafael Gutiérrez Mesa, Vojislav Mijić and Wayne Riddin). Some race directors simply break-even. But none of them want to - or can afford to - lose money.

So when there are no refunds in a race that is cancelled due to weather or water conditions, please consider the upfront costs that are borne by hard-working race directors. Or, alternatively, offer to help out the race director in future years and learn what it takes to put on a safe, memorable, challenging open water swim for swimmers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

Photo shows athletes swimming towards the finish of the North Shore Challenge on Oahu.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA

WOWSA is celebrating the
1-Year Anniversary of the monthly Open Water Swimming Magazine
by giving you a free copy of the anniversary issue.

Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
File Size: 13MB


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Open Water Swimming Magazine

Open Water Swimming Magazine

The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...

The Other Shore

The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.

2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac

An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

An almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.

This, for example, was the purpose of the traditional farmers almanacs. It enabled farmers to determine as accurately as possible which crops to plant for the greatest harvests in a given year.

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There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.

In fact, there is even one for open water swimming...

Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:

The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.


Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program