Welcome to organised open water swimming at Wirral Sailing Centre, West Kirby Marine Lake.

Time

  • Every Sunday morning 07.30 to 08.30; starting date 2nd August until end of September (Covid regulations and water temperature permitting)

Venue

  • Wirral Watersport Centre is a Beyond Swim Endorsed Venue. Beyond Swim is a brand new initiative from Triathlon England, supported by the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS UK) and Swim England, and created to promote and progress open water swimming and safety within the sport
  • Address: Wirral Watersport Centre, South Parade, West Kirby, CH48 0QG
  • Contact details: Telephone 0151 929 7707 or email: wirralsailingcentre@wirral.gov.uk
  • Find us: Wirral Watersport Centre is located at the north end of West Kirby Marine Lake near Morrisons car park and is clearly signposted from West Kirby town centre.

Who can swim?

  • All swimmers, including those with disabilities, must sign a declaration stating competence to swim a minimum of 500m continuously and unaided in open water.
  • Swimmers must have registered, completed a health declaration, provided us with emergency contact details and agreed to our terms and conditions.
  • Minimum age of 16 years with parental consent. A swimmer under the age of 18 years who is unsure of ability to swim 500 continuously in open water must attend a direct assessment by arrangement with Wirral Watersport Centre

Cost

  • £5.50pp includes car parking

Booking

  • All swimmers must pre-register and book via the Wirral Leisure Hub
  • It is not possible to progress to booking a session until the required registration process is completed
  • Booking in advance is essential; there is no facility to swim without a prior booking
  • Cancellation: sessions may be cancelled online; Wirral Leisure policy states that a customer who cancels within the 12 hour period prior to a swim session will not be refunded
  • If a swimmer becomes unwell with suspected Covid symptoms they must not attend the session. They should self-isolate and access Covid testing at the earliest opportunity

Facilities

  • Car parking: for the duration of the swim the car park entry and exit barriers will remain open, however, swimmers must leave the car park before 09.30 at the latest.
  • Swimmers must observe social distancing on the car park, leaving a minimum of 2m between vehicles. Swimmers should travel to West Kirby Marine Lake alone, or with other participating members of the same household or social bubble. We cannot accommodate non-swimmers or spectators presently
  • Onsite facilities such as changing rooms, hot showers and toilets are currently closed but will be available in due course. Swimmers should arrive changed and ready to swim, or may change in or near their cars whilst adhering to social distancing at all times – use of dry robes is recommended.
  • Public toilets are available at the front of the building, on West Kirby promenade

Coaching and safety provision

  • The Wirral Watersport Centre sessions are not coached sessions.
  • Swim safety is provided by the Wirral Watersports Centre team, all of whom are fully qualified, experienced and friendly.

What you will need to bring

  • A brightly coloured swim hat (mandatory); we don’t allow dark colours because our safety team need to see you!
  • A correctly fitting wetsuit suitable for swimming and a swim suit to wear underneath. Wetsuits are optional only when the water temperature is greater than 14 degrees C, however, they are recommended as in addition to keeping you warm they add buoyancy, helping you to keep afloat
  • Goggles or swim mask, if required
  • Towel or dry robe and a warm change of clothes
  • A named, small plastic crate to store your footwear in; footwear must be worn to and from the water entry/exit point
  • Tow floats are mandatory and available to purchase in advance – call 0151 929 7707
  • A hot drink/water

Check-in and out

  • All swimmers must check-in prior to entering the water. The check-in area is adjacent to the swim entry point
  • Swimmers must follow the one way system in place; this starts and ends at the two gates (entry is green flag, exit is red flag) which lead onto the hardstanding immediately in front of the lake (see site plan). Social distancing ground markers, 2m apart, must be adhered to at all times as swimmers enter this area and queue for the check-in and access point. We ask for your patience; large numbers of swimmers congregating, albeit in the open air, is something that needs to be avoided at all cost
  • Swimmers will be issued with a wrist band, permanently marked with their unique ID number. The wrist band is to be worn in the water – this allows the safety team to identify you in the event of an emergency. Additionally, a metal disc (provided) is to be placed on a numbered board at the check-in point; this facilitates an instant head count for the safety team. Please use the hand sanitiser provided before using the board. Wrist bands, once issued, become a swimmers’ personal property and must be bought to future sessions
  • Swimmers will additionally be verbally checked in and a register is kept
  • Swimmers must check out verbally after their swim and remove a disc from the numbered board. If you do not check out verbally we will endeavour to contact you on your mobile phone or call your emergency contact

The course

  • The designated 200m out and back course will be clearly marked with brightly coloured swim buoys
  • Access to the water acclimatisation area/course start is staggered to reduce potential for overcrowding and to facilitate social distancing. Swimmers are asked to remain patient
  • Swimmers should keep buoys to their right hand side, at all times, and leave plenty of space to ensure adequate separation from oncoming swimmers. 2m social distancing must be maintained on the course therefore swimmers should keep an eye on their position, and that of other swimmers, at all times. This may mean that swimmers have to stop more frequently than they would usually do in open water
  • Buoys must not be touched and there should be no unnecessary congregation around them. If a swimmer arrives at a buoy and finds someone there already treading water they should decide either to swim on, or, if they need to stop for a breather, they must do so at a safe social distance
  • Less confident swimmers may wish to swim a reduced course length

Safety

Safety information can be found here