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Welcome to the Boston Harbor Islands Swim, a 22 mile relay-style open water swim that starts and finishes at Rowes Wharf in downtown Boston. Offering a tour of the breathtaking Boston Harbor and Islands, this SAA relay swim provides an opportunity to collectively "Make Waves to Fight Cancer."


Are you ready to take on a 22-mile relay around beautiful Boston Harbor Islands? Join swimmers and volunteers for an all day harbor cruise with some swimming mixed in for our annual Boston Harbor Relay Swim. This swim has a cap of 75 participants so make sure to sign up early!

The relay swim starts and finishes at Rowes Wharf in downtown Boston. Each participant will swim in a 15 minute session (heat) approximately 4 - 6 times throughout the day. Swimmers will be assigned to a heat with swimmers of similar ability. All swimmers will be assigned to a transport boat for the day. Breakfast, lunch, beverages and snacks will be provided throughout the day.

If you have any questions about SAA - Boston, please contact Kitty Tetreault.


General Fundraising Requirement:

All swimmers are required to raise at least $2,000 by event day.

WaveMaker Swimmer: $5,000 minimum:

WaveMakers are elite SAA fundraisers and go above and beyond the call of duty by pledging to raise at least $5,000 regardless of your age. WaveMakers get an exclusive WM gift and access to other perks and swag.

Swim as an Individual, or on a Team:

A person may elect to swim alone, or be part of a team. Many colleagues and college alumni will form teams, or teams may be formed in honor or memory of a loved one. You can inspire each other to reach higher fundraising goals together to support Swim Across America.

Age Requirement:

All swimmers must be 18 or older to participate.

Registration Fees:

There is a registration fee that will be credited towards each swimmer's fundraising minimum. The registration fee will change as follows:

  • Register before April 12th with a registration fee of $50
  • Register between April 13th and June 21st with a registration fee of $100
  • Register between June 22nd and event day with a registration fee of $150

Wetsuit Policy, Rentals and Purchases:

We strongly recommend that all participants wear a wetsuit for this event. Please read our full wetsuit policy and tips on our Policies Page.

Online Rental: is offering $15 off with code SAA15 on adult and youth wetsuit rentals. You can find more info here.

Online Purchase: Orca is offering a 10% discount on all Orca wetsuits with code SAA10.


All swimmers and volunteers must complete the waiver found here.


If this is your first time participating or if you just need some tips to be a better fundraiser, click here. It will walk you through the participant center and teach you how to email donors, share on social media sites and download the fundraising app.

You may support the swimmer of your choice by making an online donation. Or you may send a check, payable to Swim Across America, to the address below:

Kitty Tetreault
30 Bullard Street
Walpole, MA 02081

Make sure to include a note with the name of the swimmer you are donating to.


Swim Across America makes swimmer safety the most important component of all our swimming events. A Safety Director is responsible for coordinating all activities within an event, and works closely with both the Police and Coast Guard representatives to ensure swimmer safety. We will have a number of lifeguards, safety kayakers and safety boats outon the course with us to ensure swimmer safety at all times. All boats are able to communicate via both hand held and ship to shore radios. All swimmers are required to follow specific procedures to participate in the event. These procedures are designed to protect swimmers from injury and will be enforced by the Safety Director.


All swimmers and volunteers must complete the waiver found here.


If you have questions about our policies regarding inclement weather, swim equipment or wetsuits, please consult our Policies page.


Relay Schedule

Schedule is tentative and subject to change.

Swim begins at 7:00 am from Rowes Wharf and travels out to the Boston Lighthouse and returns back to Rowes Wharf.

Approximate duration: 8 hours.

Each heat contains 8 - 10 swimmers. Swimmers serving as alternates will be available throughout the day for substitutions.

Heats have been arranged according to swimmer’s 500 yard /1 mile freestyle times. It is important for each swimmer to know his /her assigned heat number. The heat order may change throughout the swim to handle the varying conditions. For instance, the conditions or time constraints may require the substitution of a stronger heat.

Heats run consecutively and are approximately 15 minutes in length.

Relay Procedure

Start: Olympian swimmers [5-8] begin from dock at Rowes Wharf

  • Navigation boat positions 50 yards off the dock.
  • The Boat stands off ahead of the navigation boat until the swimmers pass, and then fall into formation behind navigation boat and along side the swimmers to position themselves for the first transition.
  • All heats, except for the first heat of the day, will begin from the boat
  • All swimmers are to follow the navigation boat (bright orange buoy off the back). The navigation boat is setting the course and will alter speeds for each heat. If any distance develops between the swimmers and the navigation boat, chase boats will be very close to monitor the swimmers.
  • After the designated heat time, a “finish line” 2 Zodiac chase boats will leave their safety net positions behind the swimmers and come along side each boat for pick up and transport back to the swim team boat.
  • At the sound of the air horn, swimmers will enter the water from the alternating boat and swim towards the navigation boat as directed by the boat captains.
  • Heats end and the new heat begin as the first swimmers of the previous heat touch the “finish line” chase boat and the horn sounds.
  • After completing the heat, swimmers will board a chase boat and be returned to the team boat.
  • While the recently finished swimmers return to the team boats, the new heat of swimmers has entered the water for the next leg of the swim. Smooth transitions of heats are vital for the success of the event and will require all swimmers cooperation throughout the day. Please be prepared when your heat is due to swim.

Team Relay Challenge

Harvard University's Blodgett Pool
Date: April 28th, 2019

Kick off your spring swimming calendar by joining us in the "Making Waves Team Relay Challenge" event to help raise money and awareness for cancer research and treatment. Gather your teammates for a 2 hour relay swim at Blodgett Pool. Challenge other teams to swim the farthest and raise the most in this annual event. For every $100 raised over the minimum your team receives an additional 100 yards to be added to their total. Click here to learn more and to register!
Registration: 10 AM - 11AM
Swim: 11AM - 12:30PM
Wrap-up/Awards Ceremony: 12:30 PM - 1 PM.



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