Marathon Swimming Rules

The Galilee Marathon Swimming association endorses and adapts the “Rules of Marathon swimming” as set forth by the Marathon Swimming Federation (MSF rules).

The following modifications have been made to the MSF rules:

Nonstandard Equipment / Non-Performance-Enhancing equipment:

The following item is added to the list –

    • Inflatable Tow-Float – as long as it is strictly not used to assist float at any stage of the swim. The swimmer must not touch the Tow-Float intentionally at all times.

Swim Rules / Support swimmers:

The following definition is added –

    • A support swimmer may accompany the solo swimmer starting after the first two hours of the swim. A maximum of one hour per support swim and a minimum of one hour between support swims is allowed. 

 Special Swim Types

The following definitions have been added –

    • Multi-Leg Swims: A Multi-Leg Swim will be acknowledged as a “Marathon Swim” if the sum distance of all legs is at least 25 km.
    • Stage Swims: A stage swim will be acknowledged as a “Marathon swim” if each and every stage is at least 10 km long and that the resting period between each stage is not more than 24 hours (end to start).

The following “Rules of the Swim” will be read out to the Swimmer and the escort team by the observer prior to the swim (for an Unassisted Solo Swim):

  1. The swim starts from a natural shore with the swimmer standing above the water line and then upon signal from the boat captain (s)he may enter the water.
  2. The swim ends on the opposite natural shore by exiting the water and standing above the water line.
  3. The timing of the swim is controlled solely by the observer, between entering and exiting the water.
  4. The swimmer is permitted to wear one standard swimsuit, one standard cap, goggles, ear plugs, a nose clip, and may grease their body.
  5. The swimmer is not allowed to use any other non-standard equipment at any stage of the swim, besides Non-Performance-Enhancing equipment which has been specifically declared and approved by the Association prior to the swim (must be added to the documentation).
  6. The swimmer may not make intentional supportive contact with any vessel, object, or support personnel at any time during the swim.
  7. The swimmer may not intentionally draft behind any escort vessel or support swimmer.
  8. A support swimmer may accompany the solo swimmer starting after the first two hours of the swim. A maximum of one hour per support swim and a minimum of one hour between support swims is allowed. The support swimmer may not intentionally touch the solo swimmer and must position him or herself at least slightly behind the solo swimmer.
  9. For any part of the swim that occurs after sunset or before sunrise, the swimmer must wear sufficient illumination (2 glow sticks or 2 LED lights) to be visible from the boat.
  10. A swimmer must not take any performance-enhancing drugs that are on the World Anti-Doping Agency list of prohibited substances. Any legal medication given to the swimmer before and during the swim must be shown and approved by the observer, which must add it to the swim documentation.
  11. The pilot of the escort vessel is the ultimate authority during the swim. He may cancel the swim at any time, for any reason, including, but not limited to, concerns for the safety of the swimmer or support personnel.
  12. The observer is responsible for documenting the facts of the swim, interpreting the swim rules, and keeping the official time. The Observer may call off a swim at any time because of failure to comply with the rules or danger to the swimmer. This may include rules that have not been read during the briefing before the swim, but they are part of the Rules of Marathon Swimming. Failure to follow the observer’s instructions by the swimmer or any support person will result in disqualification.
  13. If the swim is called off by the captain or observer, the swimmer must immediately exit the water.
  14. Everyone involved in the swim attempt – swimmer, observer, support personnel, and escort boat personnel – must treat the environment respectfully and prevent avoidable harm to marine wildlife and ecosystems. The swimmer or crew may not intentionally pollute the lake/sea water with trash or debris at any time.
  15. The declared rules and equipment set forth by the swimmer and approved by the Association as the Intended Conduct of The Swim may not be changed once the swim has begun.
  16. All people involved in the swim – swimmer, escort team, observer(s), boat crew, will all obey and follow the rules and regulations of the land and in full respect to each other. The swim will be conducted in a fair way and with full transparency in accordance to the “Spirit of Marathon Swimming”.
    • For Special Swims (Relay, Multi-Leg, Stage or Circumnavigation swims as defined in the MSF rules) the additional and modified rules beyond the standard rules will be mentioned and adhered to by all those participating in the swim.