Hiring An Escort Boat
Posted by Scott Zornig, 8 August 2014
The SBCSA lists several boats on our website so swimmers and relays have a choice when selecting a charter. We only list boats which we believe 1) have experience 2) know the islands and surrounding waters 3) are coast guard certified 4) carry insurance and 5) have good pilots. We do this as a courtesy to our swimmers who ultimately have the responsibility for securing the boat. For legal reasons, we stay out of hiring a boat. SBCSA swimmers have the option to bring in their own boat which they are free to use as long as the vessel and crew meet the above criteria.
We believe the swimmer needs to thoroughly vet any boat they decide to hire. In fact, there are many questions a swimmer should ask before signing an agreement. Here are some of those questions:
- How much experience does the pilot have in escorting swimmers?
- What is the pilot’s success rate?
- How many hours on the water does the fee cover?
- Do the allotted hours include travel time to the island?
- What is the cost if the swim takes longer than the allotted hours?
- Does the fee include two pilots on the boat?
- Is food included in the fee?
- Is there an issue if the swim takes over 12 hours?
- What is the size of the boat?
- Does the boat have a swim step?
- Does the boat have a swimmer friendly ladder?
- How many people are allowed on the boat?
- How many beds/bunks does the boat have?
- Is there a head?
- Is there a shower?
- Is there warm water on boat?
- Is there a kitchenette for cooking meals and warming feedings?
- Does the boat provide food?
- Is there a partial refund policy if the boat/swimmer arrive at the swim start, but conditions do not permit entry in to the water?
- Is there a full or partial refund policy if the boat does not leave the harbor due to conditions?
The SBCSA works hard to find swimmer friendly boats with experienced captains and this task never ends. Of course, we appreciate feedback from swimmers on their charter. We do pass your comments along to others when asked for references.