English Channel Myths

The following things have never, ever happened on a channel swim ever!


Photo: Not sharks, but dolphins swimming off Moreton Island, Queensland, Australia

The following things are not risks on the channel swim:

    • Shark Attacks – There are no sharks in the channel – no dangerous ones at least. There have been some sightings of basking sharks – a slow-moving, plankton-eating shark similar to a whale shark. These rarely enter the channel and are much more likely to get killed themselves by being hit by a boat. Unless you are plankton, then you have nothing to worry about. Incidentally, no open water swimmer has ever been attacked by a shark despite the fact that some choose to swim in areas such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Gulf of Mexico.
    • Tides pushing swimmers away from the shore – The tides go up the channel and down the channel – they do not flow away from shore. The flow of the channel can push a swimmer up and down the channel and give the appearance of the uneven shoreline receding, but if you keep swimming you will get there.
    • Getting hit by a ship – Some of the biggest ships in the world are in the channel and they are moving perpendicular to the swimmers, but there are no collisions. They all have AIS and they see each other – so it just does not happen.

As always, the biggest risk is that a swimmer just runs out of steam