Event Rules

Palm Beach to Shelly Beach EVENT RULES

Applies to the Palm Beach to Shelly Beach swim 26km and 10km ultra-marathon

  1. Open water swimming apply to the 10km and 26km ultra-marathon, in regards to swim suits, Males may wear swim briefs only, NO jammers or speed suits, Ladies may only wear a ladies swim suit or bikini two piece. Speed suits or bathers which extend to the knee will be considered as assisted swims. It is the responsibility each swimmer to ensure compliance.
  2. 10km and 26km Solos, duos, teams of 4 categories may swim with assistance (wetsuit), but will not be recorded as ratified swims.
  3. Registrations close four weeks prior to the event start date. If you are not registered by this time you will not be permitted to start the race.  
  4. All solo swimmers must have completed a 10km open water swim in less than 4 hours within a two year time frame prior to the event date, or have completed a solo Channel crossing in the last 2 years to enter. Solo swimmers must show evidence of a qualifying swim via the registration form in the “Additional Questions” section. 
  5. The minimum age of all swimmers at the date of the swim is 14 years.
  • 13-year-olds can only compete in duo and team events of the Palm Beach to Shelly Beach, and must have parental or guardian consent to take part in the event found in the waiver section of the registration form.
  • Solo swimmers must be at least 14 years old, and have parental or guardian consent to take part in the event.
  • All swimmers under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian consent to participate in the event. All solo swimmers must have completed the qualifying standards.
  1. Swimmers and paddlers must be accompanied by a support boat. Additional support other than a boat is required . This can include: a kayaker, a board paddler, a rubber/aluminium dingy or a two seat jet ski.
  2. Support vessels must have the swimmer number on port and starboard side.
  3. You must be officially registered to swim the Palm Beach to Shelly Beach swims. Failure to adhere to this rule; will result in a five-year ban from the event.
  4. Swimmers must wear their dedicated Palm Beach to Shelly Beach swim cap at all times throughout the event. Artificial propulsion devices are not to be used, nor any flotation devices. Gloves and socks including, but not limited to, compression socks are not to be worn.
  5. Swimmers are not permitted to receive any form of assistance during the swim, including drafting or holding on to an escort boat or another swimmer. This applies to the active swimmer of a duo and team, and all solo swimmers.
  6. The Palm Beach to Shelly Beach swim will have two categories of swimmers: UNASSISTED and ASSISTED.

UNASSISTED CATEGORY – Swimsuits must comply with :

  1. Is of a woven textile material
  2. Does not cover the neck
  3. Does not extend beyond the shoulders or ankles.
  4. Does not have a zip or other fastening system
  5. Does not go to the knee
  6. Does not cover the whole leg
  7. Is not a technical fast swim suit (full body suit or half body suit {leggings})

A list of approved swimsuits can be found on the WOWSA website. It is the swimmer’s responsibility to ensure their swimsuit complies with WOWSA rules.

Swimmers MAY NOT:

  1. Wear any item with neoprene or any other buoyant material.
  2. Wear various types of in ear or outer ear headphones.

Swimmers MAY:

  1. Wear one swim suit, one suit only comprises of a brief or bikini.
  2. Wool Fat/Lanolin/Vasoline
  3. Wear goggles
  4. Wear a nose clip
  5. Wear one swim cap as long as the outer cap is the Palm Beach to Shelly Beach cap to show swimmers category
  6. Wear ear plugs
  7. Wear a watch


  • Wetsuits must be no thicker than 5mm
  • Race numbers must be written on race swim cap.
  • All of the components of the wetsuit must fit the swimmers body tightly;
  • May wear a brief or bikini underneath the wetsuit
  • May wear Wool Fat/Lanolin/Vasoline
  • May wear goggles
  • May wear two caps as long as outer cap is the Palm Beach to Shelly Beach category cap
  • May wear a nose clip
  • May wear ear plugs
  • May wear a rash vest
  • If only one team member wears a wetsuit, the team is still categorised as ASSISTED.
  • Solo swimmers that swim with a wetsuit will be recorded in the ASSISTED SOLO category.
  • ASSISTED swimmers will not be competing against UNASSISTED for prizes and/or records.
  1. Each swimmer has indemnified Another Level Performance Pty Ltd any of it’s officers or members contributing to organisation of the race, the Medical support, Department of Transport, NSW Maritime services NSW Marine Rescue, Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Sydney, Palm Beach SLSC, Manly Beach SLSC, and their officers and swim officials against any claim for damages or injury arising from conduct of the swim.
  2. Participation in these events is voluntary and the organisation’s officials or volunteers can accept no liability on the day of the Palm Beach to Shelly Beach swim.
  3. Swimmers must complete sections of the event in specific times (refer to cut-off times). If solo, duo or team swimmers have not reached the stipulated distances within the time limit; they must leave the water and travel by their support boat to the finish or back to Pittwater. Those who don’t meet specified cut-off times will be disqualified from the event immediately.
  4. The start of the event will be signalled by air horn or bell or other starting device. Countdown to the start will commence 5 minutes before the allocated time by the event starter. It is the responsibility of the swimmer to ensure their support boat is on time
  5. Swimmers will swim with their support boat and kayaker, a board paddler, a rubber/aluminium dingy or a two seat jet ski.
  6. No duo or team member swimmer changeovers are to take place in the first 1000 metres for safety reasons. (Unless the swimmer is in distress and requires assistance
  7. During swimmer changeover, swimmers will tag at least 10 metres from the support boat in a visible manner (above water surface).
  8. In the case of a shark sighting, paddlers and team swimmers must leave the water within a 1km radius of the sighting, if advised by the Race Director. Vessels are to remain in their location until the Race Director advises it is safe for swimmers and paddlers in that zone to re-enter the water and continue with the event without disqualification. Solo swimmers, you can remain in the water but do so at your own risk.
  9. Shark sighting 10 minute rule. If a swimmers leaves the water and gets on to their boat due to sharks. The 10 minute rule will be implemented. The boat must stay stationary. The skipper must advise the Race director on channel 72 that a shark sighting which presents an immediate threat to the swimmer and the swimmer has removed themselves from the water. After ten minutes the swimmer must get back into the water to be considered still in the race. The decision to continue on is the swimmers.
  10. There is no set swimming time or order for team swimmers, although Another Level Performance Pty Ltd recommends at least 45 minutes of swimming before changeover for safety reasons at the beginning of the race and to reduce the risk of injury.
  11. Boat engines must be in neutral when picking up and taking a swimmer on board, and support boats must not back up to pick up a swimmer. The swimmer must be on the windward or weather side of the boat. An extra lookout must be positioned at the transom (back) of the boat if the boat driver is unsighted when picking up a swimmer.
  12. Swimmers must enter Shelly Beach along the westerly side of the beach on the right along the promenade as this is a safer option to keep away from surfers.
  13. Any protest regarding competitors conduct or race rules must be lodged in writing to the race director by 4:00pm on race day. A decision will be made by the committee in accordance to the Palm Beach to Shelly Beach event rules, based on any evidence given and the judgment of the officials.
  14. The event finishes 12 hours after the start of the race and all services will cease. All competitors who are in the water are required to leave the water, as officials will no longer provide swimmer safety support and assistance.


  1. On the event day, skippers must have a working VHF Radio tuned to channel 72 and also have a registered mobile phone number with Palm Beach to Shelly Beach to allow officials to contact them during the event if required.
  2. It is recommended support vessels be 5-12 metres in length, the support vessel needs to make allowances for a skipper, paddler, water craft, spotter, support crew, swimmer/s. Vessels of 10m and over are advised to stay east of the main fleet. Tenders should be 3.1 metres or less in size with a motor not exceeding 5hp. Anything over that size is required to be registered. Tenders also need to carry necessary safety equipment, including a marine radio. It is the skipper’s responsibility to make themselves aware of the regulations and requirements related to travelling to Shelly Beach and mooring rules and access to Manly wharf.
  3. Support boats MUST NOT make way astern. This means they must not move backwards. To avoid danger (to a vessel, a swimmer, a paddler, etc.) a skipper is permitted to use astern (reverse) thrust – BUT ONLY TO STOP OR SLOW THE VESSEL’S FORWARD WAY. The vessel MUST NOT make way astern (i.e. move backwards) under any circumstances. If you need to stop or slow the vessel’s forward way, they must ensure it is safe to do so (i.e. no swimmer or paddler immediately behind the vessel).
  4. For solos swimmers, a support vessel may support two swimmers but must comply with the following rules:
    • Swimmers need to swim in close proximity to each other and at a similar pace – proximity is no greater than 20 metres in distance.
    • Each swimmer must have boat support and can elect to have a paddler or board rider or a jet ski or a rubber ducky IRB.
    • You must stay with the slowest swimmer, and swimmers must be aware this could affect their overall race time.
    • If a swimmer is injured or needs assistance, both swimmers must stop. The other swimmer must stay and tread water until the boat is able to proceed or withdraw from the event due to the support boat requiring action to render the solo swimmer medical assistance.
  5. Support vessels must display race number. All vessels are to be registered in accordance with Navigable Waters Regulations 1958 and carry all required equipment to make a successful journey to Shelly Beach.
  6. All boats need to keep within an 8-knot speed limit and stay ~10 metres from their (slowest swimmer if supporting two solo swimmers) swimmer. Boats withdrawing from the event must be at least 200 metres to the east from the race swimmers and main fleet before increasing speed past 8 knots.
  7. Vessels with single propellers must be in neutral during the exchange of swimmers on and off the boat. Vessels with twin outboard motors must ensure their engines are switched off entirely during swimmer exchange.
  8. Swimmers and escort craft shall give way to commercial shipping. This will be co-ordinated by the race officials and boat captains must follow the instructions or disqualification may result. Safety first.
  9. The Palm Beach to Shelly Beach Communications Base will advise support craft of commercial vessels expected to pass through the field. The NSW Maritime Services is the controlling authority for vessels travelling through the field.
  10. If a commercial vessel crosses the racecourse, a race official may order the swimmers to stop and board their support boat. The swimmer may re-enter the water when the danger has passed and continue the event. Swimmers will not be disqualified.
  11. Support boats must assemble in clearly designed holding areas to the east and south of the swim Palm beach start. Support boat skippers will be notified just prior to their swimmer wave by VHF Channel (TBC) and will proceed to join up with swimmer at the 1000 metre mark. Swimmers cannot be dropped off at the start line by their support boat. All vessels are required to log onto channel (72) and provide call sign details at the commencement of their event and log off channel 72 at the cessation of their event.
  12. If a swimmer is unaccompanied by their support boat then the swimmer must be joined and supported by their boat. Swimmers may tread water for 20 minutes and, if no support boat arrives, the swimmer must withdraw from the event (DNF) and signal wave to other boats for assistance required and be picked up by a vessel for safety reasons.
  13. If a support boat has not located its swimmer by the 1500 metre buoy, the boat skipper must advise Swim Base by marine radio (VHF CH 72) and await further instructions.
  14. No alcohol is to be consumed during the event by swimmers or support crew.
  15. Support boats are not permitted within the final 600 metres.

Additional support for swimmers

  1. Swimmers may elect to have a paddler, board rider, rubber/aluminium dingy or jet ski. This is the swimmers decision.
  2. Jet skis will be allowed on the course.
  3. Jet skis supporting swimmers must be a two seater in case of requiring emergency pick up
  4. Jet skis must stay within 6m of the swimmer.
  5. A safe speed by Jet skis supporting swimmers will be 1, 2, or 3 knots.
  6. Jet skis cannot start earlier than sunrise as per NSW RMS
  7. Jet skis must operate at a safe speed and distance from swimmers and other craft.
  8. Jet skis will be used on the course to assist in deterring sharks from swimmers or assist in picking up swimmers for safety reasons.