Women Swimmin' for Hospicare

Boater Information

With an anticipated 300+ swimmers, boater support is critical! If you or someone you know has a canoe, kayak, SUP, or powerboat and would like to support swimmers on August 13, please invite them to learn more and email Kimari at womenswimmin@hospicare.org.

To register as a boater use the registration button located on our HOMEPAGE. You will need to fill out some basic information and then choose to register as a boater. THANK YOU!

Boater Registration

Boater Registration is open and continues until August 1. Support Boaters and Kayak Safety Team (KST) are encouraged to register online through this site. Visit our homepage to register!

  • Support Boaters: Most support boaters will be assigned to line the course as swimmers make their way across Cayuga Lake. Your job is to guide the swimmers, keep them on course toward the Ithaca Yacht Club and keep an eye on each one to watch for signs of fatigue, hypothermia, or other signs of distress. If a swimmer needs to rest for a moment, she can hold onto the front (never the side or stern) of your kayak or canoe to rest in place until she can resume her swim. Most boaters will not be accompanying a specific swimmer but rather will be assigned to a zone and support all swimmers as they swim through that section of the lake. This worked really well in 2021, and we can't wait to try it again!
  • Escort BoatersBoaters that travel in the swim lane with Swimmer Pods. You are encouraged to become a Super Boater by joining the line of Support Boaters before or after you assigned Swimmer Pod crosses the lake. Let a KST know that you would like to join the line and they will direct you.
  • Power Boaters: Power Boater and Wave Runners will also be lining the swim course to help keep our swimmin' women safe.
  • Kayak Safety Team - Experienced kayakers may volunteer to be on the Kayak Safety Team (KST). Paddlers who have had safety training (capsize recovery and boat re-entries), or who would like to learn these skills, AND who have a kayak with airtight flotation compartments fore and aft are invited to join this team. ​

Mandatory Boater Meetings

Attendance at these meetings is required by Hospicare's insurance carrier in order for you to participate in the event.

  • Mandatory Power Boaters and Jet Skis: Thursday, August 11 at 7:00pm at the Ithaca Yacht Club
  • Mandatory Boater Meeting: Friday, August 12 at 7:00pm at Boynton Middle School 
  • Optional Support & Escort Boater Clinic at IYC ~ Monday, August, 8 at 6-8pm. Bring your boat and PFD. Come prepared for full immersion.

As a boater for Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare, you agree to: 

  • Stay home if you feel sick or have a cough, a fever, or are having difficulty breathing  
  • Sign our liability waiver and publicity release 
  • Attend the Mandatory Boater Meeting
  • Arrive at the Ithaca Yacht Club (IYC) on August 13 at 6am. This will allow you enough time to unload your boat, park your car, launch your boat and paddle to your place to line the route 

EQUIPMENT - In addition to the agreement above, you must: 

  • Bring the boat you will use 
  • Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) and have it securely fastened (fully buckled or zipped) at all times when you are on the water. Have at least one extra PFD attached to the deck of your craft to throw to a swimmer. 
  • Wear the designated 2022 Women Swimmin' baseball hat at the event. The hat identifies you as a registered participant and must be worn.  
  • Attach a whistle to your PFD (for those without one, we’ll provide the whistle at the Mandatory Boater Meeting). In your boat you should have sunglasses, sunscreen and water.  


  • THE ROUTE - Swimmers will be going across Cayuga Lake. Our swimmin’ women will catch buses at Cass Park and get dropped of at Bolton Point, then swim across the lake and get out at the IYC south dock. 
  • SUPPORT BOATERS - Swimmers will not have an assigned boater. The Kayak Safety Team and Support Boaters will line both sides of the “swim lane” to help keep the swimmers on course.  You may be called upon by a KST member to ‘herd’ a swimmer back to the course or quickly attend to a swimmer in distress. Some boats will be on the water for the entire swim (approximately 7am to 10am). 
  • CANCELLATIONS DUE TO WEATHER OR HABS - There will be no “rain date.” If there is uncertainty about lake conditions due to weather (a threat of a storm, rough water, etc.) or the presence of harmful algae blooms (HABs), the Safety Team will assess the situation the morning of the swim and post updates on womenswimmin.org or facebook.com/WomenSwimmin.  
  • PARKING & CARPOOLING - Parking is extremely limited at the IYC so we encourage you to carpool or get dropped off. There are limited parking spots near the lake where you put in your boat. Additional parking can be found in the parking lot across from the IYC clubhouse and near the Glenwood Pines restaurant.  
  • BOATER CHECK IN & CHECK OUT - Once you have unloaded your boat, parked your car and are ready to get on the water, please check in at the boater check-in tent located  at the southern end of IYC. If interested, we’ll have a bagged breakfast for you (pick up near the stairs).  
  • Please be sure to check out and with Judy at the end of the swim. It’s important for us to know that you made it back on land safely! 
  • HELPING OFF-COURSE OR TIRED SWIMMERS - Part of your job is to redirect swimmers who go off course and to check in with swimmers regarding their desire and ability to continue swimming. You should intrude on swimmers only to the extent necessary to maintain safety and order on the course. If a swimmer is veering off-course, you should get close enough for her to hear you to get her attention   to guide her back to the designated swim lane. 

All of the swimmers who are participating in Women Swimmin’ are eager and excited about the swim, and most of them will complete the 1.2-mile swim without incident. Sometimes, though, a swimmer can become fatigued or distressed in the water. As a support boater, it’s your job to be observant for any signs of distress and be prepared to support in the following way.  In the event a swimmer is in distress, you should proceed as follows: 

  • The first line of assist should always be to talk and make eye contact with the swimmer. Ask if she’s okay. 
  • Get her attention, and then tell her you're going to throw her something to hold onto. 
  • Toss your (mandatory) spare PFD/lifejacket to her. Be careful with your aim. Practice throwing a lifejacket before the swim. 
  • Ask the swimmer to stay still and tell her you will bring the front of your boat to her. 
  • Never let a swimmer grab onto the sides of your boat or you may be capsized. Paddle backwards to avoid this. 
  • Keeping the swimmer in front allows you to monitor her for signs of hypothermia or other distress. 
  • Talk with the swimmer; ask if she’s prepared to continue.  
  • If she cannot continue the swim, alert a member of the Kayak Safety Team (wearing bright orange hats), and they will call for a jet ski to give the swimmer a ride back to shore. Be sure to direct the other swimmers to stay with their pod, or find a pod for them to join. 
  • Under no circumstances should you leave your boat and enter the water to assist a swimmer. You may put yourself in danger. 

Providing physical assistance to a swimmer in distress will be a judgment call based on discussion between the swimmer, her support boater and the KST. If the physical removal of a swimmer from the water is necessary, a jet ski will be called in. Trained lifeguards will be present on the powerboats and will be called in if, in the judgment of the boater and KST, circumstances warrant that intervention. 

POWERBOATERS – Approximately nine powerboats and four jet skis are positioned along the swim course, away from the path of the swimmers and support boats. They are ready to transport swimmers back to the IYC’s North Dock if a swimmer is unable to complete the swim, or in case of emergency. Lifeguards and/or medical personnel are on these boats specifically to provide assistance where and when it is necessary. 

KAYAK SAFTEY TEAM - The Kayak Safety Team (KST) members are identifiable by their bright orange hats. These are experienced kayakers who have had additional safety training and experience. KST members act as a safety net, lining both sides of the swim course, and they are available to help by responding to swimmers or boaters in need (waving arms or a quick one-blast on the whistle). They will be watching for signs of distress from the swimmers or support boaters. If a kayaker should capsize, they can assist with re-entry into the boat. The KST have a leadership role in regards to safety and at times issue instructions to other boaters.  

You can read about our safety protocols in the Participant Safety Manual.