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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Preparing For A Normandy Landing

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

When swimming from Jersey to France like other channel crossings around the world, there are several things that go behind the scenes other than the athlete's preparation and logistics around their window.

The swim coordinator, Charlie Gravett, contacts the Prefecture Marine Manche Mer du Nord to inform the French authorities of the specifics of the swim attempt, escort vessel, pilots, and swimmer. The Carteret Signal Station, Duty Harbourmaster - St Helier Harbours Operations, and governing body among others, are provided with the expected start (49◦ 13.914 N – 002◦ 01.505 W, La Coupe Point on Jersey) and finish (49◦13 634 N – 01◦ 38 684 W, St Germain–sur–Ay Plage in Normandy, France).

The swim coordinator confirms that the swimmer and all escort personnel will possess their passports and the escort boat will fly Flag ‘Alpha’ during the period that a swimmer is in the water and equipment such as VHF fixed and hand-held maritime radios, fluorescent light sticks, GPS, GPS Satellite ‘Spot’ tracker, radar reflector, flares, first aid kits, life jackets, life raft, blankets and mobile phones are available.

"Contact will be made with both Jersey Coastguard and Watch Officer JOBOURG at the start of the swim and Jersey Coastguard on return to Jersey," explains Gravett. "As well as on entry into French territorial waters Watch Officer at JOBOURG MRCC - CROSSMA and on completion of the swim before return to Jersey. Plus at any other time deemed necessary to the nearest maritime radio station for safety or information. Any deviation or curtailment of the swim will be notified to Jersey Coastguard or the closest marine authority.

Should the wind force be F4 or above at the start or deteriorate to a similar level during transition, the swim would normally be abandoned. The decision is based on the known ability of the swimmer plus any advice given by the relevant authorities
."

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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