The Manhattan Island Foundation runs a popular series of open water swimming events around New York City, including this weekend's 17.5-mile Ederle Swim. To their credit, the Foundation always has the safety of its participants foremost in mind and has cancelled races due to adverse conditions. But, it is the Foundation's communication methods with its swimmers that is truly world-class.
In the case of adverse conditions or the possibility of postponement, the swimmers, volunteers and race officials are automatically alerted before the race via voice messages to their home and mobile phones and via email alerts.
For this year's Ederle Swim, the current weather forecasts predict 20-30 mph winds. The Foundation is constantly monitoring the situation in consultation with the Coast Guard and other government agencies.
20-30 mph winds are classified by the Beaufort Wind Scale as somewhere between a fresh breeze (17-21 mph winds) and a near gale (28-33 mph winds).
In the case of winds at 20 mph, moderate 4-8 foot waves take longer form with many whitecaps. When the winds increase to 27 mph, larger waves 8-13 feet in height are expected with more whitecaps and frequent spray coming off the waves. Above 28 mph winds, the sea heaps up with waves 13-20 foot in height with white foam streaking off the breakers.
Needless to say, those are rough water conditions.
Note: In 1925, Ederle swam across Lower New York Bay from Manhattan to Sandy Hook, taking over seven hours in preparation for swimming the English Channel. The Ederle Swim is a tribute to this 1925 swim.
Map above shows the Ederle Swim race course from lower Manhattan to Sandy Hook, New Jersey.