Please download and print out the observer log template. You should also download and print out the Swim Ratification Documentation Reference. Handwritten logs need to be scanned or photographed and also typed out before submission. You can download Type-in form below or here.
WOWSA 8.0 – Observer, Pilot and Crew Roles and Responsibilities #
- A swim must have a minimum of two people* to assist the swimmer in the following roles: observer, navigator/pilot/kayaker, and crew.
- The observer is responsible for impartially observing the swim and documenting key details.
- The navigator/pilot/kayaker charts the course and ensures the swimmer stays on the designated path.
- The crew’s primary role is to feed the swimmer during the swim.
WOWSA 8.1 – Assignment of Roles
- The allocation of roles should prioritize safety and common sense.
- If a third person is available, each role should be given primary attention by the individual performing it.
- The roles of observer, navigator/pilot/kayaker, and crew should be performed by different individuals to ensure safety and prevent conflicts of interest.
- It is unsafe for the navigator/pilot/kayaker to also act as the official observer.
- The official observer should be an independent and impartial witness to the swim.
- The observer should not be directly involved in other aspects of the swim, such as navigating or feeding the swimmer.
WOWSA 8.2 – Qualifications of Observers
- Formal qualifications or previous experience are not always required for observers.
- Observers are required to pay attention to detail, capability to complete documentation requirements, impartiality, and understanding of marathon swimming rules.
- Trained and experienced independent observers are recommended for high-profile swims or significant record attempts.
- It is not advisable to have a close relative (e.g., a spouse or parent) as the observer due to the appearance of bias.
- If a trained/experienced observer or well-known marathon swimmer is not available, the swim documentation needs to be very detailed.
WOWSA 8.3 – Observer Responsibilities
The observer’s primary responsibility is to act as an independent and impartial witness to the swim, providing an accurate account of the swimmer’s progress and any relevant observations.
The below observations must be at least hourly and timestamped.
- Start and Finish coordinates
- Actual Time
- Swim Time (hours, minutes, seconds)
- Air Temperature
- Water Temperature
- Wind Speed
- Swimmer’s Mental and Physical Conditions
- Stroke Rate (per minute)
- Feedings (time, what the swimmer consumed)
WOWSA 8.31 – Coordinates Format
- DMS Format: 37° 46′ 15″ N, 122° 25′ 9″ W
- DDM Format: 37° 46.250′ N, 122° 25.150′ W
- DD Format: 37.7708° N, -122.4192° W
WOWSA 8.32 – Time Format
- Record the date, time of day, and time zone. AM/PM or Military format preferred.
- Time is represented using two digits for the hours (ranging from 00 to 23), followed by two digits for the minutes and two digits for the seconds (both ranging from 00 to 59), separated by colons.
- For example, 09:15:30 represents 9 hours, 15 minutes, and 30 seconds in the military format.
WOWSA 8.33 – Air Temperature
Waterproof thermometer. General Weather data (e.g., NOAA, Windfinder).
WOWSA 8.34 – Water Temperature
A professional waterproof thermometer thermometer with a reliable accuracy of +/-0.1°C is recommended. Please indicate if the temperature reading is in Fahrenheit (°F) or Celsius (°C).
WOWSA 8.35 – Wind Speed
Wind speed can be visually estimated from water surface conditions. Wind direction is the direction from which the wind originates. A “northwest” wind blows from NW to SE.
Beaufort Number — Sea Conditions (wave height in meters):
- 0 – Flat (0 meters).
- 1 – Ripples without crests (0.1 meters).
- 2 – Small wavelets. Light breeze. Crests not breaking (0.2 meters)
- 3 – Large wavelets. Crests begin to break. Scattered whitecaps (0.6 meters)
- 4 – Small waves. Moderate breeze (1 meter)
- 5 – Moderate longer waves. Some foam and spray (2 meters)
- 6 – Large waves with foam crests and some spray. Strong breeze (3 meters)
- 7 – Sea heaps up and foam begins to streak. Moderate gale (4 meters)
- 8 – Moderately high waves with breaking crests (5.5 meters)
- 9 – High waves (6-7 m) with dense foam. Strong gale (7 meters)
- 10 – Very high waves. Visibility is reduced. Sea surface is white (9 meters)
- 11 – Exceptionally high waves. Violent storm (11.5 meters)
- 12 – Huge waves. Air filled with foam and spray. Hurricane (14+ meters)
Anemometer to measure wind speed
The units of measurement can vary depending on the model and settings, such as knots (kt), miles per hour (mph), kilometers per hour (km/h), or Beaufort Force.
WOWSA 8.36 – Stroke Rate
Strokes per minute
WOWSA 8.37 – Feedings
Provide a brief description of the nutrition or feeding plan, including the specific products utilized and the frequency of feeding.
WOWSA 8.38 – Swimmer’s Mental and Physical Conditions
Provide a brief description of the swimmer’s physical and mental state.
WOWSA 8.4 – Documentation Requirements
- Observer log
- Complete GPS track in GPX format. (The original or raw data from GPS tracking devices like a SPOT Tracker, GPS watch, or smartphone app. We suggest using multiple tracking devices simultaneously in case one device malfunctions or fails
- One photo per hour of swimming, including the start and finish.
- Video showing the swimmer’s stroke (1 minute of video) if the observer is inexperienced or untrained (1 minute per hour).
- Narrative report.
- Complete report (see here).
WOWSA 8.5 – Observer Logs
- Handwritten observer logs (need to be scanned or photographed).
- Observer logs need to be transcribed digitally.
- WOWSA will provide a link to an app for offline data entry, but it is suggested to have backup handwritten logs. These devices may have limitations and can fail during the swim, so they should be supplemented with a thorough observer’s report.
- Both the handwritten log and a digital transcription should be submitted.