Catalina Channel Swimming Federation

Pre-Season Announcements for Swimmers & Observers

Observer Training Dates in Ventura, LA, and SD
CCSF and SBCSA Working in Concert to Expand Observer Training Sessions

The Catalina Channel Swimming Federation (CCSF) and Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association (SBCSA) are excited to announce an expansion in Channel Swimming Observer Training. This season, we offer three Saturday sessions in Southern California.

Please take this moment and via email pledge your attendance to one of these dates. The strength of our Channel Swimming organizations comes from the dedication of motivated members. This season, we expect there could be upwards of 60 attempts in the Channel Islands, thanks in part to your remarkable efforts in support and official observation.

April 27 — CPR/AED plus Observer training in Ventura at the home of Jim Neitz starting at 8am  CPR-AED review and a focus on SBCSA observer policies and procedures. CCSF members are welcome. If you want to attend the Ventura training session“>please email to RSVP and to get more information. This course will run until approximately 5pm. Lunch and breakfast items provided.

May 11 — Observer training only in Manhattan Beach (Los Angeles) at the home of John York at 9am  Ideal for the inexperienced observer and individuals already CPR-certified. This half-day session, wrapping at 1pm, is dedicated to observer fundamentals and open to all SBCSA and CCSF members. If you want to attend the LA training session please email“>Paula Selby to RSVP and to get more information. Breakfast items provided.

May 18 — CPR/AED plus Observer training in Le Mesa (San Diego) at the home of Becky Jackman-Beeler at 8am  CPR-AED review and a focus on CCSF observer policies and procedures. SBCSA members are welcome. If you want to attend the San Diego training session please email“>Paula Selby to RSVP and to get more information. This course will run until approximately 5pm. Lunch and breakfast items provided.

There is NO COST to participate in observer training! CCSF and SBCSA are joining forces to cover CPR certification, meals, and printing expenses. We request, in return, that you observe for us at least one swim this season.

CPR certification is required of all CCSF and SBCSA observers. Training sessions that include CPR/AED are intended to refresh knowledge and skills. Individuals who have not been CPR-certified since 2011 should choose to enroll in a comprehensive course offered by the American Red Cross or American Heart Association.

Tool to Assist Swimmers Trying to Recruit a Kayaker
Attempt to Connect Willing Volunteers with Swimmers Traveling from Afar
Thanks to the impressive efforts of Neil Van der Byl and Gracie Van der Byl, solo swimmers — who travel long distances to Catalina — have a resource to help recruit supporters and kayakers. The ideal window to make a request is between 3-months in advance and 3-weeks (not too early and not too late). The service cannot guarantee that a volunteer will be available on a particular date. Just another reminder that solo swimmers are ultimately responsible for securing their support team. The Van der Byls have conveniently created a tool to assist solo swimmers with their recruiting efforts. The process is simple:

Volunteers offer their services HERE and list the equipment they can bring for a Catalina Channel crossing.

Swimmers place a request HERE for paddlers or support crew or pace swimmer.


Kayak support is not required by the CCSF, however many swimmers prefer to navigate with a kayaker during the long hours of night swimming in a Catalina crossing.

Two Clinics in Escorting Open Water Swimmers
David Clark Has Scheduled Sessions in San Diego and Long Beach

We’ve received several inquires about David Clark’s kayak escort training class. He has dedicated two weekends for swimmers and their kayak support, first at La Jolla Shores on Saturday June 29th, then in Long Beach on Saturday July 13th. These free sessions are an opportunity — for both the athlete and kayaker — to learn skills to navigate, feed, and safety support a marathon swimmer. More details—of exact locations and start times– in the next newsletter. RSVP to“>David Clark at 858.453.0648

As one veteran Catalina crosser puts it: “If you’re not training with your paddler, then you’re not yet training for Catalina.

Deadline Approaches to Receive Early-Entry Discount
CCSF Swimmers Applying Before May 1st are Rewarded with Reduced Fees

Swim applications are always due at least 60 days in advance of an attempt . In addition, through the month of April, the sanction fee is discounted when the swimmer delivers the entire application — including medical certificate, payment of fees, membership dues, signed waivers, swim summary, and ‘plan your swim.’

Starting on May 1st, the full sanction fees go into effect.

The Dottie York Scholarship is established to financially assist United States open water swimmers, who find it difficult to raise the necessary funds of a solo attempt. Scholarship applications are due at the same time as the swim application.

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The CCSF continues to strive to improve safety in open water swimming.

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