When guests go swimming in the York River, it’s on a hot day and sometimes the wind is flat. This is a great way to cool off in a setting of genuine adventure. Typically, July and August are best for swimming. We simply stop the boat with a hove-to maneuver and pull in the sails.
The river temperature in July and August reaches 85-90, which is very comfortable without seeming too hot. The water is safe for swimming except for those rare periods when the Red Tide rolls in. A nitrogen deficiency in the water creates the illusion of red, unpleasantly so. Fortunately the event is rare and is more often found in the Susquehanna River in the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay. The York is free of harmful bacteria, as attested by the popularity of swimming at Yorktown Beach and nearby Gloucester Point Beach.
Where to swim? We have to get out of the middle of the river because that’s where the current runs the strongest, as much as 4 mph. Jumping off a boat into the water would scoot any swimmers down river or up river depending on the tidal current. But if we get too close to shore, we run the risk of encountering jellyfish.
Note the neck brace on the life preserver.
Over the years, Let’s Go Sail has found the perfect spot to be just east of Channel Day Mark 2 at the beginning of Sarah Creek. Like Goldilocks, it’s shallow enough to avoid the current but not too shallow to attract jellyfish.
Even though the water is shallow, it’s still 10 feet deep. And even though we’re out of the main current, there is still a tug. Hence everyone (especially children) wears an official USCG-approved Type I life preserver. It comes with a neck brace that makes it easy to lay back in the water.
Tethered to Boat
Finally, swimmers are tethered to the boat using sturdy lines that go around each person’s waist. This mitigates any current and ensures the boat won’t sail away from them. By now we’ve dropped the sails and are pretty much standing still.
Let’s Go Sail, and then swim
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