1Name and OrganisationThe event shall be known as the Garmin BSJ Gozo-Malta Open Water Swimming Competition, hereunder referred to as the event, and shall be organized by Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club, hereunder referred to as the Organizers, under the auspices of the Aquatic Sports Association of Malta.The event shall be segmented in three categories.The main category, called Category A, shall be the race for individual swimmers without an escort boat and with a tow float attached.  The first male and female swimmers in this category shall be declared the winners of the race.The secondary category, called Category B, shall be for individual swimmers accompanied with an escort boat.The third category, called Category C, shall be for group-swimmers (in terms of Regulation 9 of these Regulations) accompanied with an escort boat.
2Date, Time, Route and FeeThe event shall be held on Saturday, 16th September, 2023, starting at 7.45 a.m. from Hondoq ir-Rummien in Gozo, proceeding on to a waypoint at Comino and than the shortest possible route towards the island of Malta to finish at Marfa.  The approximate distance is 6.1 kilometres. The event entry fee is Euros 80.00, which does not include, where applicable, the escort boat and the transfer from Malta to Gozo.
3Schedule on Race Day5:30 a.m. Signing in of participating swimmers.  Swimmers should call the Race Director to confirm their presence. 6.15 a.m. Departure of transport from Cirkewwa to board the 6:45 ferry to Gozo. Swimmers having a Club-hired boat will be systematised at Mgarr Harbour and then will proceed to the race start.  The rest will be transferred to the race start by land transport. 7:30 a.m. Roll-call of all participating swimmers.  7:45 a.m. Start of Race from Hondoq ir-Rummien, Gozo.  First to start shall be Category A, followed by Category B and C at an interval of five minutes.
4PrerequisitesTo participate in the Garmin BSJ Gozo-Malta Open Water Swimming Competition 2023  an applicant should:   submit to the Organizers the Race Entry Form and the Agreement entitled “Events Registration, Release and Waiver of Liability and Assumption of Risk and Indemnity” issued by Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club in respect of events organised by the said Club, duly filled accompanied by the Race Entry Fee and any other fees as the case may be.  Registrations and payments may also be effected on line through the Club website www.bkarastjoseph.com; be over 14 years of age on the day of the event; have read and understood the relevant regulations issued by FINA in connection with Open Water Swimming (http://www.fina.org/content/open-water-swimming-rules)attach to the Race Entry Form a recent medical certificate, at least issued during the previous month;  (Upon a professional advice the organizers reserve the right to reject such a certificate.)    
5Time LimitA time limit of three hours shall be applicable for the event.  The Event Time-keeper shall communicate with the Event Judge the moment the prescribed time shall elapse.  Swimmers still in the water will be asked to abandon the swim and no official time will be given. 
6Closing Date of ApplicationsThe official event Entry Forms and the Agreement as mentioned in Para. 4.(i) of these Regulations, including payment and medical certificate, should be forwarded to the organizers by not later than Saturday, 2nd September, 2023.  Late applications shall carry an additional fee of Euro 20.00.  No applications will be accepted after the 9th September, 2023.
7Entry FeeThe event entry fee is Euros 80.00, which does not include, where applicable, the escort boat and land transfer fees. The entry fee should be accompanied by the official Entry Form and the Agreement as mentioned in Para. 4.(i) of these Regulations.  Entry application and payment may be effected on line through the Club website.  Documents not properly filled will not be considered.
8Category A SwimmersCategory A swimmers will be taking part in the main event and competing for the honours in the overall classification and in their respective age-groups.  Each swimmer shall have a tow float assigned by the organisers, and shall be solely responsible for swimming to a way-point to Comino and than on the shortest possible to the finish in Malta.  Stationery guiding boats shall be placed along the race route.  The boat nearest to the Comino-Malta channel, shall have a water station on board. It is prohibited for swimmers in this category to be accompanied by any sea craft throughout the race, other than those provided by the organisers.
9Escort BoatsThroughout the whole event, Categories B and C swimmers should be accompanied by a motor boat, at least 13 feet long, but not longer than 25 feet.  Swimmers are to keep as close as possible to their respective escort boat without touching it at any time.  Swimmers are to ensure that they provide any safety equipment of their choice in case they would need it in an emergency. Swimmers with a gap of more than three metres from the escort boat, shall be given a warning to regularize their position.  A second warning for breaching this rule, shall result in an immediate disqualification. (The Yellow/Red Card/Flag system should be applicable). The organizers shall provide a number and an Alpha Flag, which shall have to be attached to a prominent place on the escort boat, and which should be easily visible to the event referee. The number and Alpha Flag is to be returned to the organisers after the race. All escort sea crafts are to abide strictly with the relative Transport Malta Regulations.
10Category B SwimmersThe swimmers in Category B, shall be those swimmers who will be doing the swim individually but accompanied by an escort boat in terms of these regulations. Although they shall have their finishing times recorded, these time shall neither be considered in the race’s (Category A) general classification, nor in the relevant age-groups classifications.  A separate classification for this Category shall be raised.
11Category C SwimmersSwimmers in Category C (group swimmers) shall not be considered as part of the Competition, and this Category is only meant for swimmers who decide to take up the challenge of swimming the channel.  Thus group swimmers, although they shall have their finishing times recorded (one time for the whole group), these times shall neither be considered in the race’s (Categories A and B) general classification, nor in the relevant age-groups classifications. The following conditions are applicable for group swimming: I A group should consist of no more than four swimmers; II Each group should have an escort boat in terms of these Regulations; III The group should swim collectively as fast as the slowest swimmer within the group.  The finish time for the group shall be that of the group’s last swimmer crossing the finish gantry. IV The group should swim as close as possible to the escort boat without any swimmer touching the boat, unless deciding to retire from the swim.  If any of the swimmers in a group breaches these rules, the whole group shall be disqualified.  If one of the group swimmers abandons the race, the rest of the group will be allowed to finish the swim.
12Finish GantryThe event finish shall be at the event’s swimming gantry placed by the organizers at Marfa.  Finishing times are recorded the instant swimmers hit the finish electronic board.
13Pre-Event MeetingA meeting for all participating swimmers shall be held on Tuesday, 12th September, 2023 at 7.00 p.m. at a venue to be advised by the organizers.  Helpers and boat owners are advised to attend this meeting. During this meeting the event shall be reviewed for the benefit of everyone involved. In the case of Category B and Category C, applicants who shall be unable to attend to this pre-event meeting, should send their representatives (the persons who will be accompanying them during the event) who should agree to take full responsibility of explaining in detail to the respective applicants, the proceedings of the meeting. In the case of Category A, the applicants’ presence is compulsory. Should neither the applicant nor his/her appointed representative be present for this meeting, the relative entry form shall be withdrawn and the entry fee, less 20% administration charges, reimbursed. The organisers shall accept no excuse whatsoever for a participating swimmer’s or his representative’s absence at this meeting.  No registered participating swimmers can deputise for another registered participating swimmer at this meeting.
14TrophiesTrophies shall be awarded as follows: Category A Swimmers:First three males and females;First male and female in the age-groups as specified in the entry form.Category B Swimmers:First three males and females;First male and female in the age-groups as specified in the entry form.Category C Swimmers shall be presented with a finishers’ memento.A commemorative memento shall be given to all finishing swimmers.
15Swimming CapsUnless provided by the organisers, swimming caps are to be approved at the meeting held by the organizers on the 12th September, 2023.  Participants shall not be allowed to wear any blue, black or silver coloured swimming caps. Swimmers turning up for the race without the approved cap shall be disqualified. If swimming caps are provided by the Organisers, it shall be compulsory for the participants to wear these caps during the event.
16WetsuitsSwimmers taking part in Categories A and B shall not be allowed to use wetsuits.  However, wetsuits may be used by swimmers doing the swim as a challenge in a group.
17DisqualificationA boat assigned by the organizers, shall be patrolling, and marshalling the event.  The Event Referee shall be on board this boat.  On breaching of any rules of the event by a participant, this boat shall approach the said participant and a warning shall be conveyed to the swimmer.  A second warning (the Yellow/Red Card/Flag system should be applicable) shall result in an immediate disqualification from the event.  In such a case, the participant should abandon the swim immediately and board his accompanying boat or the nearest available boat. If, following a disqualification notice, a swimmer continues the event, the organizers shall not be held responsible for his safety, etc. and the swimmer shall not be allowed to participate the following year.
18Difficulties during the eventShould a participant encounter any difficulties during the event, s/he should abandon the swim immediately, board on or be given assistance by the escort boat or the nearest available boat and inform the organizers immediately on the mobile telephone numbers issued for such an eventuality.
19Cancellation of EventAs from two days prior to the event, arrangements shall be made by the organizers to be forwarded by expert analyses of the weather conditions on the event’s route. On the eve of the event, a decision whether the event shall be held or not due to the forecasted weather conditions, shall be taken.  Should the organizers be advised to cancel the event, the participants shall be informed accordingly through the Club website and/or social media page by not later than 6.00 p.m.  Should the event be cancelled, a refund of the payments, less 20% administration charges, shall be reimbursed to the applicants.  Full refund of payments forwarded to the Organisers in respect of the hire of an escort boat shall be affected. Should the weather conditions be acceptable, but jellyfish are prevalent on the race route, it shall be up to each participating swimmer whether to compete or not.  The decision should be solely his/hers and the organizers shall not be held responsible for any eventual mishap. Since a decision to cancel participation due to jellyfish can only be taken just before the event, an applicant shall not be able to claim a refund of the payments made to the Organizers. 
20Advertising MaterialThe only advertising material of a commercial nature allowed to be exhibited during the event, should be that approved by the organizers.
21Interpretation of these RulesThe organizers are the sole interpreters of these Rules, and all decisions taken by them or on their behalf shall be final.

Race Categories

OPEN (18 years of age and older by Dec 31, 2023)

All official entries automatically qualify                      

UNDER 17 (Born 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009)             

MASTERS ‘A’ (Ages 30 to 40 by Dec 31, 2023)        

MASTERS ‘B’ (Ages 41 to 50 by Dec 31, 2023)        

MASTERS ‘C’ (Aged 51+ by Dec 31, 2023)              

MASTERS ‘D’ (Aged 61+ by Dec 31, 2023)              

BSJ Gozo – Malta Open Water Swimming Competition Race Route

Red pathway | BSJ Gozo – Malta Open Water Swimming Competition Race Route

White pathway | Gozo & Comino Ferries