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 65 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. The club also offers swim clinics led by volunteer coaches and experienced swimmers to help members improve open water swimming techniques. 

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. 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 at swim@dolphinclub.org 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.
SERC Lisa Amorao Water Safety Class

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.
Seal and Sea Lion Bites FAQ

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 dry off quickly and 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.

  • If you aren’t a guest of a member, you are welcome to visit the club during our public-access hours, 9:00 am-6:00 pm, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Our neighbors at the South End Rowing Club have public day-use hours on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 9:00 am-6:00 pm.
  • All non-members must read and sign the waiver and pay the day-use fee. The fee can be paid either in cash ($10.00), by check ($12.00), or by credit card ($12.67.)
  • Public day use swimmers 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.


Yes, there are guest lockers available. Please bring your own lock.

The day-use fee gives you access to the locker rooms, shower and sauna alongside the kitchen, gym, deck and lounge areas.

Yes, please bring your own towel and shower products.

No, there are no ‘in and out’ privileges for day use guests.

Yes! The Dolphin Club maintains public-day use hours on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays regardless of federal or state holidays.

No, there are no lifeguards on duty. You swim at your own risk and are responsible for your own safety. 

Dolphin Club apparel can be found at our online stores on SwimOutlet and RivalKitUSA

The swag store at the club is open during Monday’s public-access hours from 10:00 am-5:00 pm.

Club members can also buy swag before club meetings, after scheduled swim events, and on Sundays from 10:00 am-5:00 pm.

The Dolphin Club facilities are never rented out for private parties or commercial use.

Members planning a gathering that involves more than 4 non-members (not counting immediate family),
can request approval at: events@dolphinclub.org

Yes, wear whatever you want to be comfortable and safe while you swim. However wet, wetsuits must be removed before entering the building.