Frequently Asked Questions

Additional Questions? 

Please contact Race Director, Bob Dunfey at bdunfey@ymcaofsouthernmaine.org.

Where is the Qualifying Time Waiver?

You can find a copy here. For swimmers registering after May 1, you must contact the race director immediately to arrange a time to submit your qualifying time. 

When is Packet Pickup? Can I send a proxy?

Packet Pickup will take place on Friday, July 27th from 12:00 - 7:30pm at the YMCA in Portland. All Swimmers and Kayakers must attend Packet Pickup in person. Proxies will not be allowed and there will be no packet pickup the morning of the race. Please click here to read all packet pickup requirements.

How old do I have to be to swim Peaks to Portland?

The minimum age for all participants is 16 years old.

Is there a course map?

Yes, you can view course maps here

What do I wear for the race?

SWIMMER:  A wetsuit is not required but strongly recommended. 

KAYAKER: The kayaker should wear something comfortable that is dry fit so that if you get wet you can easily dry.  Please bring sunscreen, a hat and water for both you and your swimmer.

How are the Waves assigned?

SWIMMER: Participants will be assigned to a wave based on swim time for mile. Fastest swimmers will go first.

KAYAKER:  You will line up in order of swim waves in the water.  The first swim wave kayakers should be the furthest from the start. Second swim wave will be closer to the swim start and so on.  Last swim wave will be the closest to the swim start.

What time will my Wave start?

SWIMMER & KAYAKER: The first swim wave will start at 8:30am. Each subsequent swim wave will start five (5) minutes later. A wave sheet with the start times will be provided to you on or before the packet pick-up on Friday.

What time should I arrive?

SWIMMER & KAYAKER: All packets must be picked up the Friday before the swim. Exact time and location to be announced. You should arrive at the Casco Bay Ferry Terminal at 6:00 am.  Leave plenty of time to unload your kayak.  You may purchase a ticket at the terminal in the morning or purchase one online which will be given to you at packet pick up. Advanced tickets can be purchased here.  The ferry will leave at 6:45 sharp.  There will be no other ferry to get to the race start on time.  If you miss this ferry you will not be able to swim.  Kayakers are encouraged to kayak to Peaks Island from East End Beach.

What should I bring with me on race day?

SWIMMER:  Wetsuit, change of clothes, water & towel.  You can give your change of clothes & towel to a spectator at the finish line so that you can change when you finish. You may also ask your kayaker to hold it for you in the kayak.  We suggest using a clear plastic bag to put clothes in for your kayaker to bring back for you.  Please bring some water with you to give to your kayaker in case you need it during the swim.  For swimmers without an assist kayak, we will bring your items back to East End Beach. They will be transported by boat in clear plastic bags and placed by the bathrooms at East End Beach for you to pick up at the end of the swim. The YMCA of Southern Maine is not responsible for any lost or damaged items transported to East End Beach.

Where should I park? 

SWIMMER:  We suggest allowing at least 45 minutes for parking.  The Casco Bay Ferry Terminal fills up quickly and you will most likely need to find other options. We recommend the Ocean Gateway Garage. We will provide transportation back to the Terminal Area and Ocean Gateway Garage after the awards ceremony.  You could be dropped off at the Casco Bay Ferry Terminal and your spectators can park at the race finish at East End Beach. Ferry tickets may be purchased at the terminal or in advance online here.

KAYAKER:  You may park at the Casco Bay Ferry Terminal (or Ocean Gateway Garage in case the Terminal is full) and transport to Peaks Island on the ferry.  You will need a ferry ticket, however your kayak will be free ($18 savings).  After the awards ceremony will we will transport you back to the ferry terminal where you will get your car and drive back to East End Beach to load your kayak. ALTERNATIVE:  Park at East End Beach and kayak over to Peaks Island swim start.

Note: Cars picking up kayaks may park on Cutter Street and the upper lots beginning at 6am, as space allows. No cars will be allowed into the lower lot near the boat ramp until your kayak has arrived. When confirmed by City of Portland officials, you will be waved down to the boat ramp. Follow all instructions and keep an eye out for pedestrians.
 
At the boat ramp, quickly load your kayak; volunteers will help you. Once your kayak is loaded, you must leave the lower lot and proceed directly back to the Eastern Prom. City officials and a Parking Control Officer will be on site to enforce these rules in order to keep traffic moving safely. We appreciate your help.

Where are the restrooms?

There are many restrooms available at the Casco Bay Ferry Terminal and at the swim start on Peaks Island and at the finish at East End Beach.

Where can a spectator get something to eat or drink?

Please plan on bringing snacks with you. Food will be available post-event for swimmers only. 

Will there be professional medical personnel on hand?

Yes, we will have plenty of medical personnel on Peaks Island and a rescue boat. We will also have ambulances on East End Beach if they are needed.

Is there a risk of hypothermia?

Yes, because of the cold Maine waters, both swimmers and kayakers should be aware that there is a risk of hypothermia.  Please make sure to read and understand the Hypothermia Information before your swim.

What is a dowel for my kayak and what should it look like?

A dowel is a four foot wooden rod that you can buy at Home Depot or you may purchase in advance here. The dowel will be used to attach a flag with your swimmers number. Flags will be provided at packet pickup.  This flag makes it easier to see swimmers/kayakers for safety purposes.  An example from last year:

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