Welcome to Open Water Swimming!

Our members swim year-round in the waters of Aquatic Park Cove where temperatures vary from about 50 F in January to about 61 F in September. A line of buoys parallel to the shore marks a quarter-mile course. Highlights of the scheduled swim calendar include the Golden Gate and Alcatraz swims, twilight swims followed by potluck barbecues, and our longest swim, Fort Point to Aquatic Park.

Every summer and winter, you can sign up for our mileage competitions. If you can swim at least forty miles between December 21 and March 21, you’re honored as an official Dolphin Club Polar Bear. This year, the Penguin Challenge was added, based on time, rather than distance, in the winter water. Even more challenging is the 100-mile swim, June 1 to October 31, in San Francisco bay waters.

Daily Swimming Best Practices

Swimming in the bay has inherent physical risks, including but not limited to cold shock, hypothermia, serious injury, and even death. There are no lifeguards on duty. All activities are completely unsupervised. You swim at your own risk and are responsible for your own safety. In addition to the Swimming Rules, which must always be followed, the following suggested practices may reduce the risks associated with swimming in the bay. Connect with a Swim Commissioner (Kathleen Sheridan, Tim Kreutzen or Tom Neill) at dolphinswimcommissioner@gmail.com with any questions. 

Know your limits

Less experienced swimmers and those who are not acclimatized to cold water should swim close to shore so they can quickly exit should the need arise.

Check the swim conditions

Always check the tide, current, water temperature and wind speed before your swim. Swim against the current at the beginning of your swim so that you can take advantage of the current in the back half of your swim.
Check current conditions

Be visible

Wear a bright fluorescent cap or a bright fluorescent inflatable swim buoy (aka tow float) for increased visibility. Wear a blinky light on your goggle strap or place one inside your swim buoy if swimming before dawn or after dusk.

Be aware

Watch out for all types of boat traffic at all times, and especially heavier boat traffic that is typical after mid-morning, on weekends or during regattas and other special events. Avoid contact with harbor seals or sea lions.

Have a rewarming strategy

Keep in mind that your core temperature will continue to drop after you exit the water, and have a rewarming strategy: a thermos of warm liquid, a way to try off quickly, layers of loose, moisture -wicking clothing.

Have fun

Swimmers are encouraged to swim with others. There are no set workouts but many members have regular schedules, creating informal group swims. Dolphins are friendly, don’t hesitate to ask to join for a dip.

Public Access Day Use

Non-members are welcome to visit the Dolphin Club. However please note that boats are not available for use by non-members.

  • Club members are allowed to bring up to two vaccinated guests Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • If you aren’t a guest of a member, you may visit the club during our public-access hours, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
  • ALL non-members must show proof of vaccination, read and sign the waiver and pay the day use fee.
  • Day-use guest fee is $10. You’ll also need to read and sign a waiver.
  • Public day use swimmer must stay within the Aquatic Park Cove Swim Boundary.
  • Please read and respect our rules Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club Rules which are posted prominently.