All Questions Will be Answered During the Safety Meetings.
We welcome you to the Annual Alligator Lighthouse Swim
This event is a main stay in the Islamorada community and we welcome athletes and their families.
All Swimmers and Kayakers must sign a waiver!
All swimmers to be at least 15 years of age (14, with Race Director approval) on day of race and signed up on a solo, 2 person/3 person/4 person team.
This event is closed to regular boat traffic during the hours of the competition 7:45am-3:45pm
We can only allow swimmers and escort kayaks on the course
We do not allow undocumented kayaks or boats on the course during the event; it is for your safety!
Cut Off Swim Times
You must be able to complete the swim in LESS THAN 8 HOURS 7:45am-3:45pm.
This means that if there is ZERO current, then you should be able to swim 1 open water mile in about 50-60 minutes.
All swimmers must be to the Alligator Lighthouse within 3 hours and 30 minutes of the their start time. If you’re not within the final 1-mile of the swim finish within 7 hours, you may be pulled by a safety boat and shuttled to the finish line
All swimmers and kayaks must attend a pre-race safety meeting, which will be held on Friday the day before the race. Meeting times of these meetings are scheduled for 1pm, 3pm and 6pm. Amara Cay Resort courtyard.
The Saturday morning meeting is at 6:30am before the start of the swim. It is a shorter, less focused meeting and attending a Friday meeting is MUCH preferred.
All escort and safety craft shall refrain from navigating through a pack of swimmers at all times unless the authorized safety craft must respond to an emergency
If any escort craft impedes another swimmer, the escort boat’s athlete will be immediately disqualified
Athletes may wear swim caps, goggles, heart rate monitors, wristwatches, protective swimwear (including full-length swimsuits), and wetsuits of any thickness or composition as the event permits.
However, awards will only be offered to athletes who wear FINA-legal swimsuits, one swim cap, goggles and/or ear and/or nose plugs
We strongly recommend that all Swimmers wear their assigned swim cap during the entire event and show assigned race numbers when asked for by race officials. This is for your safety.
Swim waves will leave in assigned waves
Wave # 1 7:45-7:50am Solo Swimmers-Neon Yellow Caps
Wave # 2 7:52am 2 person teams- Neon Green Caps
Wave # 3 7:54am 3 person teams- Neon Pink Caps
Wave # 4 8:00am 4 person teams-Neon Orange Caps
Athletes may use fins, snorkels, swim streamers, Shark Shields® or other shark repellent or protective equipment, hand paddles, safety rings, booties or any kind of Swimmer Safety Devices as they require or desire and which is allowed by the local governing body or race director. However, athletes using these types of equipment shall only be eligible for an overall award Male/Female in the Equipment category.
Athletes may wear any type of sunscreen or skin lubrication including lanolin, Vaseline® or any other kind of commercial skin protection on any part of their body. Apply early and often for your protection
Athletes are encouraged to remove jewelry, necklaces, rings, and wristwatches during the event.
The course is marked with a combination of Orange/Yellow Buoys and Guide Buoys of different colors, sizes and shapes.
The turnaround at Alligator Lighthouse will be easily seen as these buoys indicate a turn or change of direction and can be navigated on the left side of the athletes
The Guide Buoys should be smaller as these buoys are simply aids in helping swimmers understand the course layout.
The Guide Buoys can be navigated on the left side by the athletes. (See Map) Need to add a map.
Scoring will be done with timing chips and they will be issued to each athlete, be they solo or a member of a two person, three person or four person team. Each swimmer must wear the chip during the entire swim in order to be scored If you do not complete the course please let an official know and turn in your chip for documentation.
All athletes will cross the timing mat at the swim entry at the start and swim finish. You may finish with your team at the finish arch.
There will be a separate gun start for solo swimmers, then a wave for 2 person teams followed by 3 person team and 4 person team waves.
We will use a video-recording device at the start of the event to record the athletes getting into the water and there will also be video-recording at the swim finish.There will be use of aerial photography and videography of the sanctioned event to provide to the media.
Kayaks should be at least 12-14 feet in length and capable of handling choppy water conditions.The small, recreational kayaks cannot be used in this race! Having a rudder on your kayak can greatly help you paddle straight even in windy and choppy conditions
Please make sure you have an adequate kayak or you may not be allowed to start the race!
Safety for both our swimmers and kayakers is our utmost priority!
If you are using a sit-in type kayak, you MUST have a hand pump for pumping water out of the kayak
We recommend a sit on top kayak. All Kayaks must have an assigned race number visible at all times.
Power boats on the swim course for any solo/2 person/3 person or 4 person team must stay outside the swimming lane at all times.
Boats are required to stay at least 100ft from the line of swimming buoys at all times
If a boat is found in the swimming lane they will be assessed a penalty of 2 minutes to the relay finish time. If a boat is noted a second time in the swimming lane, they will be assessed a 4 minute penalty and on the third infraction, your relay team will be disqualified from the event. Safety First at all times. Pilots must shut off engines while making the transfers of relay swimmers.
The Alligator Lighthouse Swim is an alcohol free event during the hours of 7:45am-3:45pm. We prohibit alcohol on the swim course. Please swim and operate your boats and kayaks Responsibly
All swimmers and kayakers must provide their own nutrition (water, electrolytes, and calories) for the entire race and have a means for securing it to the kayak. There are no water stations out on the course.
The first swimmer of each 2 person, 3 person and 4 person teams must swim at least 30 minutes on the team’s first rotation.
This will spread the swimmers out on the 8 mile course. You can swap swimmers at any time after the allotted 30 minutes window, as many times as you want during the race.
Relay members must swim at least one portion during the event. Again, power boats must stay 100’ outside of the swimming lane (buoys)at all times.
Relay teams: 2-person relay teams should use a single person sit-on-top type kayak that is at least 12-14 feet in length. 3-person relay teams should use a double sit-on-top type kayak that can accommodate the weight of two team members plus all of your other gear. 4-person relay teams can use a single and double sit-on-top kayak for this purpose.
Relay teams: The kayaker exiting the kayak to swim must maintain contact and control of the kayak until the swimmer makes the exchange by hand-to-hand touch. At this moment, the finishing swimmer becomes the kayaker and the only team member permitted contact with the kayak.
All kayakers must have a whistle and wear an approved PFD while paddling.
Each kayaker must have a cell phone secured in a dry bag for use in case of an emergency
PLEASE NOTE: In case of inclement weather, unusually adverse surf conditions, or any other factors that may arise, an event committee composed of the event directors and safety personnel may modify the starting time or cancel the event. If you can’t participate in the race, there are no refunds, transfers, or deferrals for any reason. The cost of the event is fixed.
Pre-race Meeting (Day of Race)
Saturday morning, 6:15-6:30AM there will be a mandatory pre-race meeting. The meeting will take place at the beach
All swimmers and kayakers must attend this final safety and information meeting.
Please refer to course map prior to the meeting. If you haven’t met your kayaker prior to this meeting, you’ll meet your kayaker during the meeting where you can discuss your race plan. All kayaks must have team race number attached before starting the event. We need to identify your kayak at all times.
Water Temperature (Projected)
84-89 F degrees
Prior to the Race
We recommend that you complete at least a 2 to 3 hour training swim and practice feeding every 30-minutes prior to attempting this race!
If you’re doing a relay and don’t have experience paddling a kayak, you must spend time learning how to paddle a kayak safely.
If you’re a solo swimmer, make sure you communicate with your kayaker prior to race day so that you’re both on the same page about your race plans. Don’t wait until race day to communicate! If we’re providing a pilot for you, we’ll be sending both you and your pilot an email introducing each other. You’ll then have their email address for further communication.
If you have any questions about your ability to swim this event, please contact the race directors
Water safety will be provided by the course management to all kayaks, powerboats, jet skis, a police boat, and an EMT that will be patrolling the course
Each powerboat will be flying a small orange flag and each jet ski rider will have an orange mark on the back of their life jackets for identification
Kayakers/Pilots will be instructed on how to seek assistance. An EMT will be available on the water and safety personnel will be instructed on how to assist a distressed swimmer and trained medical personnel will be available to assist in emergency situations
The MANDATORY pre-race meeting will review common communication signals for kayakers (and swimmers) to use and recognize out on the course.
Finishers medals and commemorative towel for each swimmer who completes the swim. Post race awards dinner.
Awards will be given to the
Overall top Solo Male/Female and 2nd-5th place overall
2 person teams Awards Male/Female/Mixed 3 deep in each category
3 person teams Male/Female/Mixed 3 deep
4 person Male/Female/Mixed 3 deep
Overall Male/Female in the physically challenged
Overall Male/Female in equipment division
Award to the Swimmer that traveled the furthest to the event
The awards will be presented during the post race dinner.
If you can not stay for your award, please notify event staff in advance so we can make arrangements to send you your award.
Past Award Winners
We would like to recognize the following winners from 2016
Solo Overall Male Noah Zhang
Solo Overall Female Alison Hayden
2 Person Team Swim-Fil-A Rodriguez/Hyman
4 Person Team Ship Faced Jacobson/Collett/Kelley/Wunderlich
We would like to thank the Lighthouse Committee Members
Larry Herlth (Lighthouse Larry)
We would like to recognize the following sponsors for their generous support in helping us reach our dreams
City of Islamorada
Shell World www.shellworldflkeys.com
Coastal Realty of the Florida Keys
Little Basin Villas www.littlebasinvillas.com
Florida Keys Brewing Company
Keys Audio Party Rentals
Green Turtle Inn
Amara Cay Resort
Islamorada and the Florida Keys