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Seriously... you guys ask these questions a lot!

Confused boy thinking with question mark

 We expect to have a lot of questions!  

We do our best to answer them via email, Facebook and personally during many planned training swims.  We will always do our best to answer your questions and ease the anxiety that accompanies these types of events.  Please do your part by familiarizing yourself with this site and the multitudes of information provided.  Otherwise, we hope that you will find this list of frequently asked questions helpful.


Q. Why is a wetsuit required, and will you make any exceptions?

A. Wetsuits are required for your safety.  However, the reason we are strict on this is because the requirement comes from our ability to ensure this event and get permits.  We are well aware that even really cold water doesn't phase some of you, however this is not currently an issue we are willing to make exceptions for.  


The temperature also has a tendency to regularly fluctuate in the straits.  You may start swimming in 72 degree water and end up swimming in 62 degree water, or vice versa. 

Q. How do we swap swimmers for a relay team?

A. Relay team is responsible for finding their own replacement. Once that is done, contact Jon to start the bib transfer.  (

Q. Are swim fins allowed?
A. Yes, swim however you feel comfortable as long as it doesn't involve anything motorized of jet powered!

Q. Will there be a bag drop-off at the starting line? 
A. Yes

Q. Time limit to complete swim?
A. Yes, max of 8 hours to complete the swim.

Q. Is it a shore swim?
A. Yes, you are 200 yards off of the beach and follow the shore. Watch out for large boulders.  Those that like to swim far from shore, be prepared to have our staff push you into shore.

Q. Do we need our own kayak support?
A. Short answer, no, the event provides volunteer support.  However, we encourage having your own kayak support.  THOSE WISHING TO SWIM WITHOUT A WETSUIT MUST PROVIDE THEIR OWN KAYAK SUPPORT.

Q. Are there first aid or food stations? 
A. There will be 2 aid/medical stations this year, one at British Landing and the other around mile 4-5.  Anytime you exit the water, you MUST check-in with the Event Staff. Anytime you enter the water you MUST check-in with the Event Staff. This is CRITICAL! 

Q. Can we wear headphones?
A. Yes.

Q. Can swimmers take a break anywhere?
A. Yes, anywhere you can safely get out.   However, please be aware of private property during the first 2-3 miles of this swim.
Added note: Any time you exit the water, you MUST check-in with the Event Staff. Anytime you enter the water you MUST check-in with the Event Staff. This is CRITICAL! 

Q. How rocky is the bottom? Should we wear shoes?
A. VERY ROCKY!!! We highly encourage you pack water-safe footwear in your flotation bag.  Getting in and out of the water is very difficult, do not take this information lightly.

Q. What is a good training swim?
A. Any long distance swims in large bodies of water.  We suggest joining The Mackinac Island Swim Group on facebook.  Many swimmers hold training swims throughout the year.  We highly encourage swimmers to become familiar with swimming in choppy water.

Q. Should we purchase our tickets for the ferry before the event?
A. YES!!! Here is the link

(a discount code for the ferry ticket will be provided)

Q. Water Temperature?
A. Totally depends. Average for August is mid to upper 60s.  Please keep in mind that the longer you are in colder water, the more effected by it you will become.  2020 water temp was 68, 2021 it was 72, 2022 was 65 and 2023 was 61.


Q. Where and when will packet pick-up be?
A.  Mackinaw City on Friday and Saturday.  Check your event packet for more info.

Q. My family/friend is bringing their bike. Do you know how much it cost to take it to the island?
A. $16/bike on Shepler's Ferry.  Bike rentals on the island average about $15/hr

Q. What time does the swim start?
A. 8:00 am

Q. Can I start the swim early if I am staying on the Island?
A. NO, everyone needs to check-in.

Q. Anti-chaffing?
A. Many swimmers have recommended Salty Britches, Tri-Glide or Body Glide.   Plan to test out other products during training swims. It is a very good idea to use some sort of anti-chafing products. You will thank us later. 

Q. How far of a walk is it to the start line?
A. From the ferry to the starting line is about a half a mile walk. We recommend wearing comfortable shoes. Shoes that you can fit into your dry bag/buoy. 


Note: Also consider that if you leave the water before the finish line, you are responsible for walking the rest of the way back. So, if you decide to quit swimming at mile 6, you will have 2 miles to walk to get to the finish line. There are NO cars to come and get you. Unless you need medical attention, obviously! If you need medical attention at any point in time, you will wave down event staff and they will notify EMS. Please consider wearing comfortable shoes that you can walk in. Your feet will not thank you if you don’t. 

Note: If you have private kayakers, they will also have to carry their kayaks. ☹ They will not let the kayakers start in the water by ferries.  It is recommended that you bring a kayak cart/trolley.  The event has a limited amount to borrow and priority goes to our staff kayakers

Q. How far of a walk from the ferry to Mission Point?
A. About a half a mile (1 mile from Mission Point to the Start Line)

Q. Swim Buoy markers?
A. Buoys will mark important locations.  The turnaround buoys for the 8.2mi route are large orange tetrahedrons.  Round orange buoys mark relay exchanges and yellow/green buoys mark the aid stations.

Q. What will the start look like?
A. A gigantic cluster of humanity.  Kayakers and boaters in the water.  Swimmers will align themselves on the boardwalk and spectators will gather along the shore and green spaces along the shoulder of the road.  PLEASE KEEP THE BEACH AREA FREE SO EVENT STAFF CAN GET THE SWIM STARTED ON TIME.

Q. Do buoys have to be labeled?
A. YES, please have them marked BEFORE you come!! Name, phone number, and emergency contact! 

Q. What food is at the aid station.


Q. Is a road ID okay?
A. Duh.  You will also be required to have contact info on/in your buoy.

Q. Should we be wet-suited up on the ferry? 
A. It would not hurt but you don’t have to be. There will be a bag drop at the start line. 

Q. Can you swim more than once on the relay team if needed? 
A. Yes, as long as you are using the relay exchanges.

Q. Can the personal support crew walk out into the water and hang out and wait for swimmers at periodic points?
A. We are urging non-swimmers to stay out of the water due to safety concerns with the rocky shoreline.  Our medical staff needs to prioritize swimmers, not spectators that hurt themselves on the rocks.  However, we do encourage swimmers to have support staff with them that can be available to them on the course. 

Q. Will everyone get a medal for any distance swum?
A. This is not a race. This is a fun swim among friends!! Yes, all will get a medal. 

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