Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Man Swims East River West Channel From Manhattan To Roosevelt Island - Safe, But Summons Issued

Image Of East River West Channel Between Roosevelt Island & Manhattan

It is certainly not the same thing as swimming across the English Channel, but sometime last Sunday a man swam the West Channel From the East Side of Manhattan to Roosevelt Island. According to the 8/22/-8/23/10 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Report:
Investigation/ Reckless Endangerment- A male swam from the FDR straight across to Roosevelt Island. NYPD/ESU, and PSD responded. Male was fine. EMS refused. NYPD issued subject two summonses.
That's a very dangerous thing to do considering the East River currents by Roosevelt Island can be very rough during certain times of the day as shown in this You Tube Video.

Recently, a question was asked on Yahoo answers regarding the safety of swimming the Hudson and East River near Roosevelt Island. According to Yahoo Answers:
The current in both Hudson and East River is very strong, especially past Roosevelt Island and at Hell's Gate. But even past the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the current can move ar 4-5 knots. I've seen many small craft barely making any headway against this currents, some were even getting swept backwards.

About 10-12 years ago two guys set out from Greenpoint to swim across the East River. They made it across to Manhattan, but could not find a place to get out of the river, because it's all sea wall along the FDR Drive.

So they tried to swim back to Brooklyn. The current carried them down all the way to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. One guy managed to catch a ladder and climb onto a dock at the Red Hook Wastewater Treatment Plant, while the other got swept under a barge docked at the Hudson Street power plant and drowned.
More on the drowning mentioned above from the 2002 NY Times and a recent attempt to swim London's Thames River from the BBC:
Former Tory politician Matthew Parris wrote in his Saturday Times column that he had swum across the river in central London in his vest and trunks.

"Frankly swimming in the Thames is not only ignorant it is selfish too," said David Snelson, Port of London Authority chief harbour master.

"It was ignorant and it was dangerous," Mr Parris admitted in his column.

"It could have ended in disaster," he added, admitting that he was "no great swimmer"...
Fortunately, the Roosevelt Island East River swim did not end in disaster either.


swimmer said...

Actually, the swim was from Roosevelt Island to Manhattan and back. It took 15 minutes with fins. It had to be planned carefully with due attention to the tides because crossing when the currents are running would indeed be difficult and dangerous. That said it should not be done for two reasons: it is difficult to time it so as to avoid boat traffic in the small window of high tide; and more importantly, someone will call 911 and set in motion a "rescue" that will consume the time and resources of the NYC police and RI Public Safety, even on an overcast weekend day in the early morning.


Thanks for the info.

Do you have any pictures or video of the swim that can be posted on blog?