Practice Swims

All are welcome to join us for our practices at Kitsilano Beach. They are perfect opportunities to meet new people and familiarize yourself with the challenges and fun that await you in the open water.

Whether you are a seasoned open water swimmer, regular pool swimmer, triathlete or just enjoy the water, come try it out.  You should be comfortable swimming 1 km in a pool.

Our practice swims offer an opportunity to swim with many others on a marked course inside of the powerboat exclusion zone at beautiful Kitsilano Beach.  A safety briefing is provided at the beginning of each swim and lifeguards are on the water and the beach specifically watching out for us.

For technical problems with registration please contact president “at”

Safety Is Our Priority

At each practice swim, you must sign-in at the registration table prior to the safety briefing and must SIGN OUT immediately upon finishing your swim.

This is for your safety so we can confirm all swimmers going into the water made it out safely. If you don’t sign out, we’ll ask you to come back to sign out. If you don’t come back, you won’t be allowed to participate in further practice swims.

Registration Fees

Single drop-in$5 per night (cash only, day of)
Season pass $45 – until March 31st 2019  
$50 – from April 1st 2019 onward
Online only
5 Swim Punch Card $20 – online or at the beach.
Please bring proof of registration to collect at your first practice swim.

Swim Course

The swim course circles Kits Bay inside of the powerboat exclusion zone and averages 1.3-1.5 km for the full circuit. View a map of the approximate course. Movement of buoys due to tides and snags will alter the course over the season.

Location & Time

  • Practice swims run from May 25 and finish August 27th 2020.
  • Practices are every Mondays and Thursdays beginning at 6:00 pm. (No swims on holidays)
  • Swimmers should be signed-in by the 6:15 pm safety briefing.
  • Swimming start at 6:30 pm once the lifeguards are in the water.
  • VOWSA lifeguard supervision from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm.
  • You must finish swimming by 8pm. Toward the end of the summer, you will need to finish earlier than 8pm as the sun sets earlier.
  • Sign-in can be found by the Kits tower, and the Boathouse restaurant, by the trees.


Before your first practice swim you can download and fill in the waiver. We will have extras on-site, but this makes your sign-in go faster.

What to bring

  • Completed Practice Swim Waiver
  • Drop-in fee, or have paid for Seasons Pass – see costs below
  • A parent or coach if you are under 19
  • Brightly coloured swim cap (not white)
  • Swim suit
  • Wetsuit (not mandatory but a really good idea)
  • Whistle (not mandatory but a really good idea)
  • A warm change of clothing for post swim

You should be comfortable swimming 1000 metres (40 laps in a 25m pool) and have all the recommended safety items.

Water temperature in English Bay varies over the season from about 14C at the start of June up to a high of 20C near the end of August. Upwellings of colder water around the course can be refreshing on a hot day, but we do advise wearing a wetsuit both for warmth and flotation.

Wetsuits are not mandatory for practice swims (though most people wear one), but you must inform the VOWSA practice supervisors that you plan to swim without a wetsuit when you sign in for practice.

Please note all credit card payment transactions include a 2.9% surcharge plus a fixed fee of CAD 0.30 for credit card processing.

Refund policy


Change rooms, washrooms, cold outdoor showers (!), concession stand, pay parking lot (very limited free on-street parking).

We do not have a volunteer to watch your gear while you swim, so prepare to secure valuables.


Don’t have a wetsuit? Talk to Team Aquatic Supplies.

Still have questions?

Visit our page for preparing for your first practice swim.