2023 Women Swimmin' for Hospicare

Boater Information

With an anticipated 300+ swimmers, support on the water from paddlers and power boats or wave runners is critical!  The vast number of boaters helping at Women Swimmin' for Hospicare are paddlers using kayaks, canoes, or SUPs. We'll need the help of about 120 experienced paddlers.  Because of the complexities of escorting swimmers and partnering with other paddlers, and the length of time spent on the water, paddling for Women Swimmin' is not a task for new or novice paddlers.

We also rely on the support of a few power boaters and wave runners. If you have a power boat or wave runner and would like to help, please email womenswimmin@hospicare.org. We'll put you in touch with our water safety coordinator who can explain what's needed for power boats and wave runners.

Boater Registration

Registration for paddlers and other boaters opens May 9, 2023 and continues until August 6. To register as a paddler click the "Register" button in the menu at the top of this page. THANK YOU!

Boater and Support Paddler Roles

Line Safety Paddlers (LSP): We will assign 30 Line Safety Paddlers to partner with Kayak/SUP Safety Team (KST) members and rove a zone along the edge of the course, maintaining the tightest and most direct course possible. LSPs are responsible for providing rest and assistance to swimmers and helping pass swimmers from pod to pod/escort to escort.

Escort Paddlers (Escort): We will assign 3 Escort Paddlers to paddle across the lake with each pod of 8-10 swimmers. Escorts are responsible for guiding swimmers across the lake in the most direct line WITHIN THE COURSE, providing rest and support as needed for all swimmers in their pod and passing slower/faster swimmers to other escorts as pods break up and recombine.​

Kayak/SUP Safety Team Paddlers (KST): KST members are experienced kayakers and SUPers with self-rescue skills and assisted rescue skills, responsible for supporting all swimmers and paddlers on the course. If you have paddled as KST in the past, please register as KST. If you are interested in joining the KST, have self-rescue skills, a complete kit of safety equipment, and a kayak with flotation fore and aft or are rescue trained on your SUP, please register as a support paddler and say YES to the question ‘Are you interested in joining the Kayak/SUP Safety Team’.

Powerboaters/Wave Runners:
Powerboaters will be stationed along the downwind edge of the course, outside the Kayak Safety Team & Line Safety Paddlers, close enough to the course to see and hear calls for assistance but not so close as to have exhaust impact swimmers or paddlers. Power boaters will have at least one other person onboard to observe the course, binoculars, towels, and standard safety equipment.

Wave Runners will rove a section of the downwind side of the course and be responsible for removing swimmers who need to leave the course. Wave Runner operators must be skilled with their craft and able to physically assist fatigued swimmers onto their craft.

Requirements for Paddlers

Volunteer Paddlers may use Kayaks, Canoes, or SUPs and MUST be proficient with their watercraft, able to paddle across the lake in 15-20 minutes and comfortable staying in/on that craft for between 2 ½ and 4 hours.

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

  • Sign our liability waiver and publicity release.
  • Attend the Mandatory Meeting (Thu Aug 10 for power boaters and Fri Aug 11 for paddlers)
  • Arrive  at the Ithaca Yacht Club (IYC) on swim day at 6:00AM. This will allow you enough time to unload your boat, park your car, launch your boat and paddle to your assigned spot. 
  • Stay home if you feel sick or have a cough, a fever, or are having difficulty breathing.
  • Email womenswimmin@hospicare.org if you need to cancel.

You agree to have the following equipment:

  • A personal flotation device (PFD). Your PFD must be securely fastened (fully buckled or zipped) at all times when you are on the water.
  • At least one extra PFD attached to the deck of your craft to throw to a swimmer.
  • The  designated 2023 Women Swimmin' baseball hat at the event. The hat identifies you as a registered participant and must be worn. 
  • A whistle attached 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.  

Mandatory Boater Meetings

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

  • Optional Support & Escort Boater Clinic at IYC : Monday, August 7, 2023 at 6:00PM. Bring your boat and PFD. Come prepared for full immersion.
  • Mandatory Power Boaters and Wave Runners: Thursday, August 10, 2023 7:00PM 
  • Mandatory Paddler Meeting: Friday, August 11, 2023  at 7:00 PM  located at Claude L. Kulp Auditorium 1401-1439 North Cayuga Street, Ithaca, NY 14850

More details will be shared as we get closer to swim day. Registered paddlers will also receive regular emails throughout the summer from Hospicare with important reminders about Women Swimmin' and other information.