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Support Boats

Every swimmer, including Solo, Duo & Teams, require a Support Boat to participate.

The information on this page should be read in conjunction with the following documents provided by Queensland Government. This is important information for your Skipper.

We have also prepared a Code of Conduct for Skippers (below) – this is subject to change until the final Safety Briefing on Friday May 29, 2020.


Selecting a Suitable Boat

It is the Skipper’s responsibility to determine the exact number of people onboard for a safe voyage using Queensland Government guidelines. Your swimmer in the water should be included in the total number of passengers.  The number of passengers permitted onboard is often displayed on the Australian Builder’s Plate.

It is the responsibility of the Skipper to make sure the boat is suitable and capable of making the voyage required.


Things to Consider

  • Support Boats need to be in position 30 minutes before their swimmers Wave Start (Solo Waves: 6:30am) and the journey from the Southport Spit Boat Ramp is approx 30km


  • Every skipper must attend the Safety Briefing on Friday night, before the event.  If you are chartering a vessel, the Skipper of that vessel will also need to attend


  • Your swimming speed will determine how long you will be in the water with your Support Boat. Consider this time-frame when planning your day with your Skipper


  • There is no boat ramp at Surfers Paradise where you finish (it’s a surf beach), so your Skipper will depart for their preferred exit ramp when you reach the Finish Lane (final 500m)


  • Team members have the option of swimming the final 500m together (we recommend it!) or staying onboard and returning to the Boat Ramp



All Skippers must carry a mobile phone and VHF Radio.

When contacting the Race Director, your Caller ID is your entry category + number. For example,

  • if you are a solo swimmer 100 then your Caller ID is “Solo 100”
  • if you are a swimmer in Team 15 then you Caller ID will be “Team 15”


Support Boat Registration

Each skipper will be required to complete a Support Boat Registration – the following information will be required.  The ‘Skipper Registration Form’ will be made available 90 days before the event.

  • Swimmers Name or Team Name
  • Name of the boat to be used
  • Boat registration number
  • Boat length
  • Make of boat – boat make and model
  • Engine Type – inboard or outboard
  • Skipper name
  • Skipper address
  • Skipper mobile number
  • Skipper email address
  • Marine Licence number


Boat Ramps

The Southport Spit Boat Ramps are the recommended ramps to launch your Support Boats, given their proximity to Surfers Paradise where the event will finish. They also have ample parking space.

  • Address: Muriel Henchman Dr, Main Beach QLD 4217

The journey from Southport to the Offshore Waiting Zone off Coolangatta Beach is approx 30km, so please consider this distance and time required to make this journey if you are launching at Southport.

Support Boats need to be in position 30 minutes before their swimmers Wave Start. (Solo Wave: 7:00am)

Support Boats are welcome to launch at any Boat Ramp.  Below is a map of locations for reference:




A bus service will run between the Southport Spit Boat Ramp and the finish at Surfers Paradise Beach (Hanlan St – Trickett St).

This free service is designed to transport Skippers and / or team members who exit at Southport, to meet their swimmers at the finish line as soon as possible.

Buses will run continuously from 12:00pm – 5:00pm. No bookings are required.


Code of Conduct for Skippers


  1. Every Skipper must attend the compulsory Safety Briefing on the night prior to the event. Swimmer entry will be withdrawn if a Skipper fails to attend.


  1. Any Skipper who does not adhere to these rules, or general Queensland Government boating regulations, will risk swimmer disqualification


  1. Skippers must have a Recreational Marine Licence valid in QLD.


  1. Support boats must display (in an easily visible position) the supplied boat stickers showing their race number.


  1. All Support boats must have marine safety and emergency equipment as required by Queensland Government boating regulations


  1. Every Support boat must have an operating VHF Radio. On Event Day, the radio must be tuned to the Emergency VHF channel 16. Skippers must follow any instructions given by the Race Director. If further announcements regarding the race are required, Skippers will be reverted to a Working Channel.


  1. Every Support Boat must have a mobile phone onboard to contact the Race Director if required. The mobile number will be supplied at the Compulsory Race Briefing before the event.


  1. Swimmers, support boats and paddlers should expect to encounter recreational boating traffic throughout the event. There are no special arrangements made with recreational boats (the general public), so skippers must use their discretion when approaching other vessels and alert their swimmer if danger is imminent.


  1. No vessel shall exceed a speed of 6 knots within 200m of a swimmer or their Support Boat


  1. Support Boats must maintain a distance of at least 20m from all course buoys


  1. To safely perform a swimmer pick-up, at any time:
    1. Support boat motors (all motors & outboards) must be disengaged and in neutral
    2. Support boats MUST NOT make way astern to collect a swimmer


  1. A designated ‘Spotter’ (who is not the Skipper) must maintain a view of their swimmer at all times. The Skipper is ultimately responsible for their swimmer and should determine a spotter roster or rotation before the event commences. This can be a team member or other passenger.


  1. In the event of a shark sighting, skippers may be required to evacuate their swimmer from the water. All skippers acknowledge that failing to follow the directions of the Race Officials may risk their swimmer being disqualified.


  1. All Skippers should expect random spot checks from Queensland Government staff to ensure their vessel and safety equipment meets all Queensland Government regulations.


  1. All vessels with a rear-mounted outboard motor must be fitted with a propeller guard to ensure safety during swimmer changeovers. Some vessels may be exempt if outboard motor is concealed and well clear from swimmers entering the boat.


Rules for Support Paddlers


A support paddler is not mandatory, but it is recommended.  They provide a valuable point of contact between the swimmer and Support Boat (EG – communicating messages, assisting with navigation etc)


  1. All Paddlers must depart from the designated Assembly Area on the left of the start line at Coolangatta Beach


  1. All Paddlers must display the official race sticker with their race number


  1. Paddlers must stay on the left of the finish lane bouys and exit to the left of the finish area at Surfers Paradise


  1. Any Paddler who allows a swimmer to contact / hold their paddlecraft will risk swimmer disqualification


The Skipper Registration Form will ask you to sign as confirmation that you understand all of the rules and guidelines for your participation, as outlined above in the ‘Code of Conduct’.

Please refer to the EVENT RULES page for Swimmer Rules


Please remember, the event rules, course and boating regulations have been developed in accordance with the local authorities in our host region and state.  Some elements of the event format will therefore be different from other marathon swims you have completed.

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