Oceans Seven: Breakdown of Worldwide Channel Associations and Report

Oceans Seven: Breakdown of Worldwide Channel Associations and Report

The Oceans Seven channel crossings represent more than a physical challenge. There are associations that influence a swimmer’s journey as well. The recent Ocean-Navi incident in the Tsugaru Strait has brought this influence into sharp focus.

Open water swimming has no central regulatory authority. Swimmers need be informed about the operations and conduct of these associations on their own.

Let’s take a look at these associations, examining their roles, controversies, board structures, pilot independence, and ratifying bodies:

Full Sheet

If there are inaccuracies please contact us at contact@openwaterswimming.com


The role and provision of observers greatly differs among organizations. Associations such as the Channel Swimming Association (CSA), Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation (CS&PF), and the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation (CCSF) provide their own official observers. Organizations like the North Channel Swimming Association (NCSA) supply observers to other organizations. In some instances, pilots also serve as observers. The observer’s role is critical in ratifying swims, and any inconsistencies or ambiguities in their provision could potentially lead to confusion or disputes.

Operational Differences

Certain operational disparities among these organizations have sparked discussions. For instance, the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation (CS&PF) in the English Channel maintains records for swims completed by both organizations, while the Channel Swimming Association (CSA) does not.

Operational differences are also evident in the Cook Strait. Phil Rush, who is recognized for his commitment to rigorous safety standards, is the primary facilitator of swims in this region, a status endorsed by the New Zealand government. Even as other organizations, such as Infinity, had shown interest in contributing to the facilitation of swims in the Cook Strait to meet the growing demand, this scenario underscores the significance of safety protocols and their role in shaping operational practices.

Ka’iwi Channel Association stated they do not report to anyone, but they accept other organizations ratification for historical record keeping. Hawaiian Channel Swim Association is for solo swimmer throughout Hawaii including all channels but they refuse to accept relays. Molokai Channel Swimmers Association established years later reports to HCSA. There are also pilots that give out their own certificates.


The composition and size of the boards of these organizations vary significantly. Organizations like the CSA, CS&PF, and the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association (ILDSA) have large boards with over a dozen members. In contrast, organizations like the NCSA, ACNEG, NZMSF, KCA, and TSSA have smaller boards or members. The board’s size and composition can influence the organization’s governance and decision-making processes. Larger boards may offer a wider range of perspectives, but decision-making slower. On the other hand, smaller boards may facilitate quicker decision-making, but may lack diversity in perspectives.

Pilot Independence

This highlights whether pilots operate independently of the organizations. For some organizations, like the CSA, CS&PF, and the CCSF, the pilots are independent but registered with the organization. For others, like the NCSA, ILDSA, and the Strait of Gibraltar Swimming Association, the pilots are not independent. This can have implications for the autonomy and flexibility of the pilots in conducting swims.

We launched a directory in May of 2020 to create more transparency for the sport. If you would like to share your experience here are the links.

Organizations with their links in the WOWSA Directory for leaving a review:

  1. Channel Swimming Association – Leave a Review
  2. Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation – Leave a Review
  3. North Channel Swimming Association – Leave a Review
  4. Irish Long Distance Swimming Association – Leave a Review
  5. Catalina Channel Swimming Federation – Leave a Review
  6. Strait of Gibraltar Swimming Association – Leave a Review
  7. New Zealand Marathon Swimming Federation – Cook Strait – Leave a Review
  8. New Zealand Open Water Swimming Association – Cook Strait – Leave a Review
  9. Ka’iwi Channel Association – Leave a Review
  10. Hawaiian Channel Swim Association (HCSA) – Leave a Review
  11. Tsugaru Strait Swimming Association – Leave a Review

Note: Ocean-Navi TCSA (Tsugaru Channel Swimming Association) has ceased operations for Tsugaru Straight. See article here