Kayak Demo and Swim Support

For over a dozen years now, members of the Chesapeake Paddlers Association have been volunteering with swimming events and kayak demo events around the Chesapeake Bay area. Although not officially sanctioned CPA events (not necessarily following CPA guidelines and not covered by CPA liability insurance), supports are volunteer activities in which many CPA members participate. As kayakers, we can offer a unique form of assistance to swimmers and new kayakers in the water. Our fast, quiet, human powered craft can get close to swimmers and new paddlers, safely. We can talk to and encourage them during events, carry provisions during long swims, and even help rescue swimmers who cannot complete an event. Kayaks are often the only craft allowed into the same lanes as swimmers during an event.

In order to inform members about this unique opportunity to help out during support events and to celebrate the past successes of such events, we have collected here information, contact resources and stories for the various regularly offered events. Follow the available links to find more contact information for the next scheduled swim events. Participants should inquire about what safety policies are followed and what liability is covered on these events. A guide to what kayaks do during swim support is here.  You can also read about skills and lessons learned from the documents at the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay Swim description.

Support your local swim event!

Watch the Calendar and Forums for more information on these non-CPA swim support events.

Various Support Events that occur in the Chesapeake Bay area:

Okumefest Demo Days

More information about the support event…

New kayakers can try out completed models of CLC’s wooden boat kits here, under supervision by kayak supporters.

This event is scheduled in 2019 for May 18th

Annapolis Canoe and Kayak Demo Days

More information about the support event…

Annapolis Canoe and Kayak

New kayakers can try out kayaks and gear here, under supervision by kayak supporters.

This is scheduled all summer long

 Great Chesapeake Bay Swim Support

More information about the swimmer\’s event…

Chesapeake Bay Swim SupportDuring the month of June, the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim event is held. Two swims are held at the same time at opposites sides of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Annapolis; a 1 Mile Swim and a 4.4 Mile Swim crossing the Bay under the bridge. Each event has over 600 participants in the water at the same time. Kayak support is essential. The CPA started supporting this swim event over 12 years ago. Since then, hundreds of paddling volunteers have helped to make this the safest and most sought after event of open water swimmers. Come out this year and help us continue the amazing effort!

Some organizational and informational materials which have resulted from past Great Chesapeake Bay Swim events are available here:

Potomac River Swim Support

More information about the swimmer\’s event…

Potomac River Crossing Swim SupportEarly in the Month of June, the Potomac River Swim is held. This event is a 7 1/2 mile swim across the mouth of the river. Kayakers support swimmers in a one-on-one scenario. Kayakers are also used as further support and sweep. Volunteers are provided camping in Lookout State Park; dinner the night before; and transportation across the river prior to the swim event start.

Many thanks to all of you who supported the Bay swim. I only swam the 1 mile this year (didn’t get selected for the 4.4 mile lottery) but it was so nice to look up while swimming and see many of my CPA friends.

Many thanks also to all of you who supported the Potomac Swim. I am so impressed by the dedication and expertise of the wonderful group who came out. It is so critical to the success of the event to have you there. Each swimmer depends on you for guidance and safety.

Thank you again! .

— Cheryl Wagner

Annual Maryland Swim For Life

More information about the swimmer\’s event…

Annual Maryland Swim 4 LifeThe District of Columbia Aquatics Club (DCAC) hosts the 26th Annual Maryland Swim for Life . DCAC is one of the largest United States Masters Swimming teams and is a 501c(3) organization. This is their 9th year of hosting this community fundraiser.

Proceeds from Swim for Life support a number of small local organizations assisting individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS, as well as the Chester River Association, which advocates for the health of the Chester River.

The Swim starts and finishes at Rolphs Wharf Marina on the Queen Anne’s County side of the Chester River, three miles south of Chestertown in Kent County. There are waves of swimmers who will swim either 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1 mile along the Chester River. The supporting kayakers will never be far from shore, but support will be needed along a 21/2 mile stretch of the river.

The tentative date for 2020 is June 6th. Check back for updates.

The Nation’s Triathlon Swim Support Events

More information about the Nations Tri event…

Nations Triathlon Swim SupportsThe Nation’s Triathlon Swim and the Washington D.C. Swim events will present racers with a 1 mile swim on the Potomac along the edge of Washington D.C. Kayakers can offer safety support to the swimmers. We will launch from Columbia Island Marina and paddle straight across to the other side of the river where the swimmers will enter the water. Traditionally a practice day is held for the swimmers on a Saturday and the big event is the following day early on Sunday morning.

These events are scheduled for 2019 on various dates

The Baltimore Swim Across America

More information about the swimmer\’s event…

The Baltimore Swim Across AmericaThe swim will be held at Redhouse Cove (High Tide Farm at 5101 Mountain Road, Pasadena, MD 21122). Swimmers will have a choice of a 1 mile swim course, a 3 mile swim course, or a 5 mile swim course. This is an open water swim event, but appears to have quite a bit of protection from the landscape. Support kayakers should be able to take care of themselves in mild open water conditions with the ability to concentrate on the swimmers well-being.

The Columbia Lake Triathlons

More information about the Columbia Tri Event…

There are two triathlons including a short swim portion taking place in Columbia, Md this season. It is a one mile swim for the participants in a circular course around the perimeter. No waves, no current, and all close to the shore. All types of kayaks are welcome, sea kayaks, SOTs, rec boats.

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