All Questions Will be Answered During the Safety Meetings.

We welcome you to the Annual Alligator Lighthouse Swim

This event is a mainstay in the Islamorada community and we welcome athletes and their families. Please come to our community and enjoy a weekend of swimming and friendship.  

 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. Some support craft will be on site. 

 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 45-50 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

Safety Meetings Mandatory

 All swimmers and kayakers 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.

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. Those of you driving in Saturday morning please make time for staging kayaks and pre race prep. 

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, wrist watches, protective swimwear (including full-length swimsuits), and wetsuits of any thickness or composition as the event permits. Most likely wetsuits will not be allowed. 

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. Swimmers will be chipped timed. You will be give a disposable ankle band you must wear it during the complete swim. Swimmers will be also wear wrist band with information and body marked with assigned numbers.  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.

Kayak Requirements(Sit on Top)

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! (Please no drama)

Safety for both our swimmers and kayakers is our utmost priority!

We recommend a sit on top kayak. All Kayaks must have an assigned race number visible at all times.

 Power Boats

Power boats on the swim course for any 2 person/3 person or 4 person team must stay outside the swimming lane at all times. Help us reduce the power boat traffic on the swim course, rent a kayak. 

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. Safety flags when changing 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.
Relay Teams

 The first swimmer of each 2 person, 3 person and 4 person teams must swim at least 20 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 20 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. It is up to you the swimmer to communicate with your kayaker pre race. Swimmers usually rent the kayak for the support person and pay for post race dinner or race swag....craft beer is good too. 

If you have any questions about your ability to swim this event, please contact the race directors

Safety First

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.


Results will be available online at and

Finishers medals and commemorative towel for each swimmer who completes the swim.

Post race awards dinner.

Awards will be given to the following categories. 

Overall top Solo Male/Female and 2nd-5th place overall male/female

2 person teams Awards Male/Female/Mixed 3 deep in each category

3 person teams Male/Female/Mixed 3 deep in each category

4 person Male/Female/Mixed 3 deep in each category

Overall Male/Female in the physically challenged 1 deep in category

Overall Male/Female in equipment division 1 deep in category

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. There will a postage fee if we have to ship your awards. 

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


Planning Committee

We would like to thank the Lighthouse Committee Members

Larry Herlth (Lighthouse Larry)

Eliza Colmes

Betsy Keteltas

Rob Dixon

Jaret Mats

John Olsen

Fred Rzymek

2017 Sponsors

We would like to recognize the following sponsors for their generous support in helping us reach our dreams

City of Islamorada

Shell World

Coastal Realty of the Florida Keys

Little Basin Villas

Florida Keys Brewing Company

Mangrove Mikes

Keys Audio Party Rentals

Bayside Gourmet

Green Turtle Inn

Trading Post

Amara Cay Resort

Overseas Petroleum

StretchCordz ©

Islamorada and the Florida Keys

Swim Map 2017.jpg