Sea Swimming Pilot

Defiance is the first boat to safely pilot swimmers from the Rampion Windfarm to Brighton. As a swim pilot we have completed the swim the most times and boasts a 100% success record.

Defiance is an ideal vessel for piloting sea swimming. She is licensed to carry passengers and certified to operate up to 60 miles.

The boat is equipped with an electric lift for recovering people from the water, this makes it easy for tired swimmers to get onboard. The back of the boat can be temporarily removed to allow swimmers to enter the water safely.

To operates as a swim pilot modern navigation equipment is onboard to plot the progress. Transponders are fitted to make the boat visible to other marine traffic..

The Official Rampion Windfarm Swim

Construction of the windfarm was complete in January 2019. The restrictions of the construction work and the removal of the construction mark means the routes of the first ever windfarm swim in 2018 cannot be replicated.

The official point-to-point swim from the windfarm is as follows:

Start Point

Swimmers at the start line, with the Rampion North Marker and windfarm in background.
Swimmers at the start of the windfarm swim – Rampion North

The starting point of the swim is a line 100m either side of the Rampion North Marker at 50’49.049N 0’09.152W with the same latitude.

Finish Point

Swimmers with Kayak approaching West Pier at Brighton
Swimming the last stretch to the east of West Pier

The beach to the East of the Brighton West Pier and no further East than Brighton Palace Pier is the finishing point.

The skill of the swim pilot is to successfully navigate between these two points. It is necessary to keep the swimmers safe from other sea users and to support them with food and drinks.

Swimming Information

This swim is over 16km in tidal UK waters. The sea conditions can be challenging with sea temperatures between 8C and 20C. Currents can run up to 1.6Kts (2.9kmh). Dangers from shipping into Shoreham Harbour and coastal traffic. Nearer to Brighton other sea users are an additional hazard. This new route was first completed on July 12th 2019 by a relay team in just over 6 hours, with Defiance as the swim pilot boat.

The Rampion windfarm swim is not just a very challenging point-to-point swim in its own right. It is probably the best warm up for those wanting to swim the channel. This swim is equivalent to 40% of the distance of the channel swim, in water conditions that exactly match that of the channel at Dover just 65miles to the East. This is why a competent pilot is essential.

Defiance piloting swimmers at windfarm courtesy of Windcat 22