Thank you for supporting a swimmer or relay team for this year’s Boston Light Swim!

Pre-Race Briefing and Dinner

You are cordially invited to the pre-race safety meeting at 4 p.m. on Friday, August 10, at the Curley Community Center (M Street multi-purpose room, 1663 Columbia Road, South Boston). You can meet your swimmer there and listen in to the safety briefing. We would love to have you attend, but this is not mandatory. You are also invited to join us for the pre-race dinner at the Boston Harbor Yacht Club (1805 William J. Day Blvd., South Boston) beginning at 6 p.m. In addition to a yummy Italian buffet meal, you’ll also get to meet your swimmer, other race participants, and learn about the history of the event. You are welcome to attend, but you are not required to do so.

Race Day: Meet Your Swimmer at BHYC!

Meet your swimmer at the dock at BHYC at 6:30 a.m. to motor out to the lighthouse for the start of the race. The race begins promptly at 7:30 a.m. We know it’s early, but we’re catching the tide, and there will be less recreational boat traffic on the water early in the morning


Your swimmer will receive a packet of flags upon check-in the morning of the race. They will hand these to you when they board your boat. Please fly these banners and flags from your boat for the duration of the swim. They help mark your boat as part of the race and are an important safety aid to other boaters on the course. At the conclusion of the swim, please give the flags to the crew member(s) disembarking at the BHYC. They will bring the flags back to the finishline and the race directors. We need the flags back to keep race costs down!

RD’s Cell Phone

Please note, Race Director Elaine Howley is the primary contact for this event. You may call her on 508-736-6268 with questions or concerns. If your swimmer pulls out before the finish, please contact Elaine via call or text message to let her know that you have removed your swimmer from the water.

Swimmers Who Withdraw Early

If your swimmer is unable to complete the race, he or she will need a ride back to the BHYC. In the event of a medical or safety emergency, please contact the race director or the USCG. We need to know as soon as a swimmer pulls out.

Radio Communications

Please monitor channel 72 for race info and use channel 16 to reach the Coast Guard in the event of an emergency.

Safety Boats

  • There will be three event safety boats on the course. One will be in the front, one will be in the rear, and one will be patrolling the middle of the pack of swimmers.

  • The U.S. Coast Guard will be present and they have the authority to cancel the event for any reason.


See a course map and detailed description here. This swim is unique in that the islands are your markers. Boats will line up in a north-south line extending due south from the Boston Light. Please try to hold this line as best you can so that swimmers have a fair starting point. (See image below)

  1. Georges Island: Stay left of the island, 200 yards or more offshore. Watch for ferries coming in to dock.

  2. Rainsford Island: Stay to the right of the island.

  3. Long Island: Head toward the water tower. Watch out for outgoing boat traffic around the 4-mile mark. Keep Long Island on your right and skirt along the southern coast of the island until you reach where the Long Island Bridge used to stand (4.5-mile mark). IMPORTANT: Head for one of the middle stanchions of where the bridge used to be.

  4. Moon Island will be on your left as you clear the site of the old bridge.

  5. Keep moving straight ahead between Thompson and Spectacle Islands. Thompson will be on your left, Spectacle on the right. Aim a little closer to Thompson, but be aware that for slower swimmers, there could be a slight cross-current from right to left that can push them toward Moon Island. Try to keep on track for Thompson Island.

  6. After rounding Thompson Island (6-mile mark) you have two miles to go. The Boston skyline will be in sight. You’ll see one particularly tall building in the skyline, so head toward that building. As you get closer (within 1 mile of the finish) you’ll begin to be able to see the white handball courts at the L Street bathhouse.

  7. FINISH: M Street beach within the fence of the Curley Community Center. It’s the first walled off section after the public beach at M Street. There will be two, large, orange markers out in front of the walls, a large FINISH banner, tents, people, and an orange mesh-fenced finish chute. Once your swimmer finishes, you can motor back to the BHYC dock to drop off the crew and their bags. The crew will take the boat flags from you and return them to the finishline where they will meet their swimmers. Boaters, if you have a place to safely dock your boat, please feel free to come join us for the afterparty on the beach. (The BHYC is only accessible for dropping off swimmers and crew, not for docking.)

GPS Waypoints

Please note, we have updated the Long Bridge GPS waypoint to guide you through the center stanchion.

Location Longitude Latitude
Start / South of Little Brewster Island 42.326836 -70.890135
Mile 2 / South of Georges Island 42.315623 -70.926747
Mile 3.3 / North of Rainsford Island 42.314988 -70.952110
Mile 4.6 / Long Island Bridge Center Span 42.309319 -70.979703
Mile 6 / North of Thompson Island 42.322017 -70.998266
Finish (Mile 8) 42.328987 -71.033435

You can access a course description and map on our website.


  • We have a strict 5-hour limit on the course. Boaters, if your swimmer is still in the water at 11 a.m., he or she must enter your escort boat and be dropped off at the BHYC.

  • Swimmers may not touch escort boats or crew members during the swim (unless it’s a relay). Rules are all spelled out here.

  • Swimmers must wear the numbered, fluorescent caps we provide while in the water.

  • Escort boats must display their swimmers’ number and the red/white diver down flag. (Please return these flags at the end of your swim.)

  • No wetsuits are allowed.

  • Kayaks may only be used as secondary support; in the event of an emergency or event cancellation, the accompanying escort boat must be able to accommodate the kayak and kayaker for the ride back to shore.

Event Cancellation

The race will proceed rain or shine. We will only cancel the event if the Coast Guard deems conditions too dangerous or there’s thunder/lightning. If we need to cancel, we’ll notify you via email as soon as possible. Please make sure the race director has a current, accurate email address on file for you

Banner photo by Jon Washer.

Line up with your bow toeing the red line running due south from the Boston Lighthouse.

Line up with your bow toeing the red line running due south from the Boston Lighthouse.