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 > East Bay Regional Park District | Healthy Parks Healthy People > Activities > Permits > Requirements for Swimming Special Events

Requirements for Swimming Special Events

These are supplemental guidelines for booking a swim event. For complete information on how to obtain a special event permit can be found in the application or on the web at EBParks.org/BookingSpecialEvents. Detailed guidelines for swim events are available upon request.
As the Coordinator of a swim event you are responsible for holding a safe event and must meet the following additional minimum requirements:
1. Waiver of Liability and Medical Release: You must collect a waiver of liability and medical release for each participant. You are required to keep waivers on file for a minimum of three years and provide the original copy to the District if requested. More details at: EBParks.org/BookingSpecialEvents.

2. Emergency Action Plan: You must create an emergency action plan which should be included in the event plan. The Emergency Action Plan needs to include the following:
    a. Guidelines for the swimming event to be terminated
    b. A water evacuation plan
    c. Event cancellation procedures
    d. Means of removal of a swimmer, if needed
    e. Other essential information for emergency situations

3. Lifeguards: You must use East Bay Regional Park District lifeguards, if lifeguards are required.    
    a. Swimming events must be scheduled during regular swim "lifeguard" season.
    b. The required amount of lifeguards for the safety of the event is decided by the District's Swim Safety Coordinator based on the following criteria:    
    • Past experience for the same or similar events
    • Number of participants
    • Number of participants in the water at one time
    • Number of heats
    • Size of heats (typically maximum heat size of 150 competitors)
    • Time between heats
    • Length of swim course
    • Design of swim course
    • Proximity of the swim course to shore
    • Swimming ability of the participants
    • Presence or absence of a pre-qualifying swim
    • Water temperature
    • Weather conditions, including wind and fog
    • Special accommodations for competitors
    • Same day registration

4. Lifeguards and Fees: You are responsible for all fees associated with having lifeguards and extra staff at your event.
    a. Staffing fees for Swim, events will be one of the following, whichever is greater:      
     •  The sum of all staffing fees (i.e. lifeguards, rangers, public safety officers, etc. OR
     •  Total fee based per participant as follows:
           $4/participant for swim event or $6/per participant for triathlon. Number of final event participants required after event.
    b. See current fees: EBParks.org/SpecialEventPermitFees

5. Boats: At least one boat must be present at all open water swimming special event. Each boat is required to have a minimum of two lifeguards per boat. It is the discretion of the District's Swim Safety Coordinator to request to have more than one boat present based on their safety analysis of the course.
    a. Boats and trained operators will be provided by the East Bay Regional Park District and you will be
        billed for the staff time.
    b. See current fees: EBParks.org/SpecialEventPermitFees

6. Medical Staff: When there are 100 competitors or more participating in a swim event at least one basic life support ambulance with two EMTs must be made available for the duration of the event and is the responsibility of the event organizer.
    a. For events of 50 to 100 swimmers, one EMT (any of EBRPD Aquatic Supervisor, Aquatic Assistant, Lifeguard, or Firefighter) may fulfill the role of medical services designated to the event. 
    b. You are responsible for all cost associated with medical services.
    c. The EMT's are required to attend the lifeguard briefing.
    d. You are responsible for coordination of the ambulance and EMT's.
    e. Your event will be cancelled it the above requirements are not met. 

7. Public Address System: You must provide a public address system capable of reaching the majority of the beach or staging area with sufficient amplified strength.

8. Swimmer Accountability and Identification: You must develop a system to account for each participant. Swimmers are required to wear fluorescent or other bright colored swim caps and all competitors should be individually numbered, with numbers marked on the swimmers' bodies in a manner that can be easily observed (duplicate numbering in more than one area may be useful). Competitor micro tracking chips are encouraged.

9. Wetsuits: Participants should be advised of anticipated water temperature in advance and encouraged to wear wetsuits by you.  Depending on conditions and expectations of participants, this could be a requirement imposed by the Swim Safety Coordinator.

10. Safety Briefing: You must give a safety briefing to all swimmers/competitors. Swimmers should be briefed on potential hazards and instructed on hand signals to lifeguards, should they need rescue.

11. Course Marking: The course should be appropriately marked, with adequate buoys or markers and anchor systems to ensure clarity of course for the swimmers, to avoid swimmer misdirection, and ensure the lifeguards can remain focused on swimmer safety. 
    a. Buoys must be set up under the supervision of District Staff
    b. You are responsible for Staff Time fees.
    c. See current fees: EBParks.org/SpecialEventPermitFees

12. These above requirements are specific to swim events.
    a. Your event will be cancelled if the above criteria are not met or the swim safety coordinator deems
        the course or conditions to be unsafe.
    b. PLEASE refer to the standard special event requirements for more information.
    c. You can find the most up-to-date information at EBParks.org/BookingSpecialEvents