Food for Your Crew

JSwimJSwim western Maryland, USSenior Member

Bringing food for your crew if you’re doing an 8+ hour swim is a detail that hasn’t been discussed much here. I hope others will give tips on what has worked for them, from the swimmer and crew ends.

real food: sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, bagels, packages of nuts, jar of peanut butter, loaf of bread
treats: cookies, chips etc
drinks: water, individual bottles of soda, hot water/coffee/tea if not supplied by the boat

I’m thinking collapsible insulated bags, and multiple Ziploc bags to hold hotel ice to keep food like sandwiches cold.

How much to bring? I don’t want to run low, but also don’t want the hassle of hauling unnecessary stuff.

I flew to the last long swim I attempted, so bought all the food locally less than a day ahead, trying to pick things that could be eaten standing up and handed to a paddler. It worked out fine, but it'd have been less stressful if I'd gotten more advice ahead of time.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. --Neale Donald Walsch



  • abbygirlroseabbygirlrose Los Angeles and Palo Alto, CASenior Member

    I would ask your crew ahead. We have brought food without asking before and ended up with way too much leftover that no one wanted

  • Openh2oOpenh2o Member
    edited October 2021

    Food ok!
    Something abouth drinks?)))
    I would ask your crew ahead for after party! 8+ swim is serious work!
    My opinion!

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member

    I always told my crew to bring whatever they want. I was too busy to be a caterer. They’ll understand.

  • Openh2oOpenh2o Member
    edited October 2021

    25k u are professional!

  • BogdanZBogdanZ Bucharest, RomaniaSenior Member
    edited November 2021

    I had to organize some documented swims (not organized by someone else) and had to handle also this point.
    My opinion is that the bigger the effort, the number of days, the people involved - you need someone responsible with the logistics (accommodation, transport, food/ drinks purchase etc)
    Make a list of all responsibilities, written, and repeat that once more, since the pct you think you repeated enough.

    talk with your crew if they have some allergies or products they should not consume.

    If you do this far from home,
    see what you can find locally, where is the sleep spot, where is the start spot and if there are moments when you change teams/ support crew -with people from land. I had one swim when the crew worked in 3 shifts.
    Can you buy water, food, snacks from the local store?

    Maybe you can buy cooked food from the restaurant of your accommodation (macaroni, pizza, focaccia, schnitzel, meatballs, bottled soup, fresh sandwiches etc) and determine during swim prep what they can prepare in the day before (like call them, consult the menu and operating hours of the kitchen).

    I strongly suggest to be prepared to negotiate the prices (if money is of any relevance to you), because you might end up paying restaurant food for 20 people - like organizing a small wedding, with food served at table, instead of simply accepting there's an oven and as much as they can prepare in one pasta tray or soup saucepan) and you just take away.

    After seeing what you can "offer" to the crew, Ideally you propose the food list - the more you get into details on what they like to consume, the worse is for the person organizing, by sinking in details

    Consider the space on the boat, because it's not just your gear and your food, it is their food also.
    Is it warm outside, do you need ice boxes?

    Does the accommodation have freezers? Can they keep the freezing elements (of the ice box) in the fridge?

    Minimum for crew is water + coffee + sandwiches + some snacks (ideally big pieces, not granular ones) + toilet paper (and a predetermined place to sh*t). Avoid chocolate and other products that might melt and ruin the environment/ bags.

    Does anyone in the crew smoke? where do they smoke on the boat/ where do they throw the garbage?
    In my case a boat captain and an observer were heavy smokers.

    And establish the rules of conduct: ex no alcohol, no eating/ shting on swimmer side etc.

    When I presented my eating plan, I also encouraged them to have a plan for themselves.

    From my pct of view, happy crew = happy swimmer.

  • JSwimJSwim western Maryland, USSenior Member

    Great to hear your thoughts! I agree that sometimes the swimmer doesn’t need to bring food for the crew. It depends on the swim, number of crew and if crew prefer to bring their own. But sometimes, it’s appropriate and makes for happier support people.

    Like @BogdanZ wrote, there’s a lot to consider… and it can get pricey and time consuming. I do like the idea of paying a fee to have the support boat supply food. Long swims with a big support boat are expensive anyway, adding some expense to make logistics more simple seems like a win. Though I’ve no experience with that.


    Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. --Neale Donald Walsch

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