Pilot for Bristol Harbour goes swimmingly

Councillor Ellie King, smiling.
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Ellie King, Cabinet member for Public Health and Communities and Labour councillor for Hillfields ward.

This weekend we welcomed a first for Bristol with the start of our open water swimming pilot in Baltic Wharf.

Under the misty morning skies of Bristol with a buzz of excitement and delight, the first swimmers took to the water to kick off the city’s harbour swimming pilot at 8am on Saturday 29 April. Over the weekend a total of 124 swimmers enjoyed a dip in the harbour water during two supervised swimming sessions from 8am to 10am on Saturday and Sunday.

The event had a lovely feeling to it, with a community of swimmers, including lots of women, coming together to enjoy the pilot.

Working in partnership with open water swim specialists Uswim and Bristol based charity All-Aboard Water Sports we’ve brought a five-week open water swimming pilot to Baltic Wharf. During the swim sessions lifeguards and safety boats are on hand to ensure a safe 200m out and 200m back swim course, marked out with buoys at 50m intervals to provide options for a shorter loop.

People are pictured swimming in Bristol's harbour, with colourful buildings in the background.

The 10 swim sessions of the pilot will allow us to assess whether or not we can provide a designated open water swimming area on a regular basis that is safe and financially sustainable. Throughout the pilot we’ll monitor costs, popularity and any impact on our ability to maintain a safe environment. We’ll also gather feedback from participants and listen to the response from the wider public.

Outside of the harbour swim pilot arrangements it remains unsafe and against the bylaw to swim in the harbour or other waterways in Bristol.

A swimmer is pictured holding out a cut out, reading: I'm a totally legit Bristol Harbour Swimmer.

I’d like to give a huge thank you to all of the volunteers who were kept busy checking swimmers in and out of the water and also those who made sure everyone had a safe and enjoyable swimming experience. Also, thanks go out to Dippy for the loan of their tow floats.

If you’d like to get involved and volunteer to help run the pilot swim sessions please email Steve Weeks at All Aboard on weeks231@icloud.com or the team at Uswim on sales@uswimopenwater.com.

Synchronised swimmer are pictured at the harbour swim pilot launch.

The Harbour swimming pilot will continue for a further four weekends. Due to high demand we’ve made additional spaces available for the remaining swimming sessions which are already selling out fast.

Further information about the pilot and how to book are available on our website: Bristol Harbour swimming pilot.

Councillor Ellie king is pictured being interviewed in front of the harbour.
People are pictured at the harbour swim pilot launch.
A swimmer is pictured in front of Bristol Harbour.
Swimmers are pictured in Bristol Harbour, for the launch of the Bristol's harbour swimming pilot.