How to handle large afterwave from ships in the Channel

nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
edited March 2013 in General Discussion
I would like advice from those who have experienced swimming in the afterwave of large ships in the English Channel. The only experience that I have with anything similar would be my normal ocean swimming from shore, to beyond the breaking waves - typically diving under the breaking waves as they pass over. Is there any similarity to negotiating the afterwaves in the Channel? Is it possible to avoid them altogether, or should they always be anticipated at some point during the swim? Thanks!


  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    If ships can be avoided, your pilot will do it and you will never realise.

    Otherwise, bow waves are not that big a deal. At most you'd only be exposed to 1 or 2 close enough to be big since there's only one real bow wave per ship. You may get swamped but you may not.

    And since they can come from all directions, you likely won't see them coming anyway, (though your crew might/might not) and you can't really duck-dive them. I like to throw bow waves at swimmers on the Cork Distance week torture swim for the experience but otherwise, don't worry about it.

  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    I see them as a bit of a treat - you don't see it coming, and suddenly you find yourself being lifted up then dropped down the other side. They don't break; they just roll and you don't really have any choice but to roll with them. It happened on my Channel swim, and all I can remember about it is that everyone cheered and we all laughed our heads off.
  • AquaRobAquaRob Humboldt Bay, CACharter Member
    bow waves are kinda fun as the swimmer... I got to ride through one in the water with my friend Cherie while I was pace swimming for her Anacapa swim. It was a little confusing for her because she didn't see it coming, but no real trouble.

    A big bow wave is probably a little less fun for those on the boat.
  • ZoeSadlerZoeSadler Charter Member
    Great fun if you are in the water. Just ride the wave. Your crew may warn you that a wave is coming and ask you to swim a little distance away from the escort boat. You don't want to be right next to the boat at the time.

    If you are on the boat, then hold onto something! The boat will continue to rock for some time afterwards.
  • SharkoSharko Tomales BayGuest
    This should be taken as a fun ride....keep your head low like catching a wave when body surfing and pull into the energy can probably expect several surges so be prepared for a follow up and "ride it" is fun!!!

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • Is duck diving allowed in channel swimming rules?
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