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Support Boats

Every swimmer, including Solo’s, Duo’s and Teams, require a Support Boat to participate.

We have prepared a Code of Conduct (below) that every Skipper must agree to when they complete their Skipper Registration Form (available in March).

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.


Skipper Registration

This asks you to sign as confirmation that you understand all of the rules and guidelines for your participation, as outlined below in the ‘Code of Conduct’.

Separate forms for Skippers and Paddlers will be available. The following information is required from Skippers:

  • Swimmers Name/s, Duo Name or Team Name
  • Safety Briefing you plan to attend
  • 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


Selecting a Suitable Boat

It is the responsibility of the Skipper to make sure the boat is suitable and capable of making the journey from Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise, then on to the nearest boat ramp (approx 30km).

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

Minimum Requirements

The distance and duration of the swim, along with the offshore course, means that many smaller boats (under 4.5m) are not suitable.

This includes any boat with a hand-operated outboard motor, or less than 4.5m in length which has a ‘Basic Flotation’ classification, for example ‘tinnies’, which are easily capsized.

Please note, Jetski’s are not permitted to participate in the event, either as support boats or assisting support boats.

If you would like to inquire about the suitability of a specific boat, please email World Series Swims at

Surf Club IRBs

Surf Club IRBs are approved to participate, however only as Support Boats for Solo swimmers and Tandem Solo swimmers.

Duo Teams are also permitted to use IRBs as Support Boats, but only if both members have a current IRB proficiency award.

NB: An IRB does not have the legal capacity to carry teams plus their Skipper.

Inflatable Rescue Boats (IRBs) must meet the following conditions of entry:

  • IRBs must carry enough fuel on-board for the entire duration of the event (EG: a spare fuel bladder). They cannot exit the course to refuel or have another boat meet them to deliver fuel – they must be self-sufficient for the entire duration of the swim.
  • IRBs must assemble in the same location and depart the course at the same location as all other Support Boats. There are no exceptions for IRB skippers.
  • IRB Skippers must agree to and follow the same Code of Conduct as all other vessels. This includes carrying all marine safety and emergency equipment as required by Queensland Government boating regulations – they are subject to the same spot checks while participating
  • Your supporters cannot travel in an IRB, unless they are qualified, so only the Skipper of the IRB can support you and provide feeding etc


Things to Consider

  • Support Boats need to be in position AT LEAST 15 minutes before their swimmers Wave Start (Solo 6:45am, Duo 7:10am, Teams 730am) and the journey from the Southport Spit Boat Ramp is approx 25km
  • Every skipper and paddler must attend a Safety Briefing 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 400m)
  • Team members have the option of swimming the final 400m together (we recommend it!) or staying onboard and returning to the Boat Ramp



All Skippers MUST carry the following:

  • a mobile phone;
  • a GPS device (or smartphone app with GPS technology); and
  • a VHF Radio.

Smartphone apps will have GPS technology are acceptable, they also allows you to plot and follow the course coordinates.

When contacting the Radio Controller, 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”


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 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).

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 a Safety Briefing prior to the event (two options).  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 VHF channel 68 while participating. Skippers must follow any instructions given by the Race Director.
  1. Every Support Boat must have a mobile phone and GPS device (or smartphone GPS app) on-board so they can be contacted / located by Safety Boats if required. A mobile number for the Race Director 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 (Start Lane, Checkpoints, Finish Lane)
  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. We strongly recommend that all vessels with a rear-mounted outboard motor are fitted with a propeller guard to ensure safety during swimmer changeovers.  All Skippers will be asked in their Registration Form to acknowledge that their swimmer is at greater risk of propeller related injuries if they choose not to fit a propeller guard.


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. Every Paddler must attend the compulsory Safety Briefing on the night prior to the event.
  2. All Paddlers must depart from the designated Assembly Area on the left of the start line at Coolangatta Beach
  3. Paddlers must stay on the left of the finish lane bouys and exit to the left of the finish area at Surfers Paradise
  4. Any Paddler who allows a swimmer to contact / hold their paddlecraft will risk swimmer disqualification



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

Contact the World Series Swims team…

Marathon Inquiries:

Event Partners

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