Lewis Pugh Starts The Red Sea Swim

Lewis Pugh Starts The Red Sea Swim

United Nations Patron of the Oceans and British swimmer Lewis Pugh started The Red Sea Swim yesterday, an unprecedented 160 km stage swim across the Red Sea from Saudi Arabia to Hurghada in Egypt.

His cross-border swim will take 2 weeks to complete. His plan is to finish on October 25th as Pugh expects to swim at least 10 km each of the 15 days of his journey. Along the way, he will pass Sharm el-Sheikh, where world leaders will be gathering for COP27 in November.

His purpose? To call attention to and effecting change in a changing marine environment. As he says, “Coral reefs are the nurseries of our oceans, and home to some of the most incredible life on earth. I refuse to accept that we could lose them in my lifetime. Inaction is not an option.”

Pugh will swim over some of the most precious coral in the world while avoiding the large tankers in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes leading to the Suez Canal and urging nations to drastically cut their emissions, to tackle the climate crisis, and protect the world’s oceans.

While approximately 3 billion people live within 200 kilometers of a coastline, a vast majority (99% conservatively speaking) have never swum among coral reefs and have not experienced their majesty.

The Lewis Pugh Foundation is partnered with HEPCA – the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association – to promote and organize his Red Sea Swim.  HEPCA is a passionate and proactive network of scientists, professional divers, industry experts, and community members working to protect the resources of the Red Sea.

HEPCA are calling for the Great Fringing Reef of the Egyptian Red Sea to be declared a multiple-use protected area. There is clear scientific evidence that the Great Fringing Reef, which is characterized by high resilience and tolerance to climate change, could be the last refuge for coral reefs worldwide. One of HEPCA’s projects is to reduce the pressure on the coral reefs around Hurghada, where the number of dives at some sites has reached more than 200,000 annually (the recommended carrying capacity is 5,000 – 22,000 dives in a single dive spot). 

Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) make the oceans more resilient to climate change. At the UN Climate Conference (COP27) in Sharm el Sheikh this November, Lewis will call for 30% of the world’s oceans to be protected by 2030, stressing to world leaders the role healthy oceans play in mitigating against the Climate Crisis. He hopes government officials will move beyond long-term commitments towards immediate urgent action.

The COP27 (UN Climate Change Conference) will be held November 7th – 18th in Sharm el Sheikh.

For more information on the Lewis Pugh Foundation, visit here.

For more information on The Red Sea Swim, visit here.

Photos courtesy of Steve Benjamin, Lewis Pugh Foundation.

Copyright © 2008 – 2022 by World Open Water Swimming Association