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Safety personnel

From Openwaterpedia
Safety staff in a variety of water craft positioned during the 2011 Swim Across America open water swimming event in Long Beach, California

noun - Safety personnel or safety staff are individuals, both professionals and volunteers. who serve to provide safety and assistance to swimmers in an open water swimming events and competitions. These individuals create, plan and execute a safety plan (both onshore and offshore) for an open water swim.

FINA, USA Swimming and other governing bodies in the open water swimming community and aquatics world have mandated the position of a Safety Delegate (or Safety Monitor at their open water swimming competitions.

Roles and Responsibilities[edit]

Based on years of practical experience and knowledge of the venue, the safety personnel take into account the race course layout, local government permits, laws and regulations, type, number and location of safety equipment (boats, kayaks, paddle boards, Jet Skis, surf skis, stand-up paddle boards), type, number and location of turn and intermediate buoys, weather and water conditions, type of communications (in terms of devices, number and location of the personnel using them), age, abilities and backgrounds of the swimmers, size of the field, availability of rest areas or feeding pontoons, tides or currents, water quality, proximity to onshore medical care, marine life and experience and size of the event staff and volunteer crew.

Safety personnel are present at the race to assure the approved safety plan, including all emergency and contingency procedures, is implemented. They assure that adequate safety precautions are in place to deal with race-day conditions whatever they may be (e.g., fog, lightening, extreme water temperatures, winds, pollution, marine life including jellyfish, Portuguese man o war, sharks) and they roll-play possible emergencies and contingencies.

Safety personnel also have, in some jurisdictions, the authority to postpone, modify or cancel the race or withdraw swimmers - before or during the competition or even after the first person(s) finish the race - if they judge it necessary if conditions change and safety becomes a concern.

Safety personnel work hand-in-hand in pre-event planning with the Medical Officer and Race Director and any local government agency or governing body with jurisdiction over the venue and race itself.

Eyes on the Swimmers[edit]

Safety personnel understand and execute 'eyes on the swimmers', a fundamental premise of providing safety in an open water swimming event. Eyes on the swimmers requires trained and experienced lifeguards and safety officials to be positioned in, along and occasionally under the open water swimming course in water craft such as RIBs, escort boats, kayaks or paddle boards with sufficient communications tools such as radios or mobile telephones and knowledge of how to identify and evacuate a distressed swimmer in an open body of water.


Safety Monitor, Safety Officer, Safety Delegate, safety staff, safety official

External links[edit]