FAQs

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What is the Westpac Chopper Swim?

The Westpac Chopper Swim is a 20km swim fundraiser. The swim starts at Waiheke Island and finishes in Auckland City with the main focus to raise vital funds for the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust. Unlike a race, this swim is recognised as a great personal achievement and for a great cause.

Can anyone enter the Westpac Chopper Swim?

20km is no easy feat. If you are an experienced ocean swimmer you can register your interest in taking part in the Westpac Chopper Swim.

Anyone who intends to swim the entire 20km must have proof of having swum 10km in a recognised event prior to event day.

Your entry in to the swim is not confirmed until you receive an acceptance email.

All participants must organise their own own support team (an experienced kayaker as well as a boat/skipper), have ocean swimming experience, and fundraise for the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust. Any swimmer who has not fundraised prior to event day may have their entry withdrawn.

Can I swim in a team?

Yes! If you have ocean swimming experience, you and your friends can enter a team.

If you are not quite ready for 20km or haven't completed a 10km swim yet, entering a relay team with your friends or workmates is a great way to ease in to long-distance ocean swimming. It's also a great team day out on the water.


We recommend teams consist of 2 to 5 swimmers. When registering a team, make sure you ask that your support boat will be able to safely onboard everyone (including your kayaker) in an emergency.

Your team has the choice to swim the whole 20km together or break the kms up in to a relay. Teams that are swimming together must not separate from each other. Your support team will need to have eyes on everyone who is in the water.

Do I need a support crew?

All solo swimmers/ teams are required to have one experienced kayaker and one boat that can safely on-board everyone (including your kayaker) in an emergency.



You must organise your own support crew. No support crew, no swim. If you are struggling to find support, send us a message letting us know what you need (boat, kayaker, both) and we will do our best to help. However, there are no guarantees.

Solo swimmers - We may be able to pair solo swimmers to a boat supporting another solo swimmer of similar swimming speed. Make sure you provide a realistic average 10km swim time in the registration process.

Priority acceptance for the swim will be given to those who have confirmed their support teams upon registering their interest.

What are the entry costs?

There is no entry fee to take part in this swim. We ask each solo swimmer to fundraise a minimum of $500 and each team to raise a minimum of $1,000. If you haven’t fundraised by event day your entry may be withdrawn.

Can I swim without a wetsuit?

A wetsuit is mandatory for safety reasons unless you have permission from the event director to go without. If you turn up on the day without a wetsuit and do not have permission you may not be able to participate in the swim.

Swimming with a wetsuit provides additional buoyancy and helps protect from the elements. If you would like to be exempt from swimming with a wetsuit, please send a message to our team explaining your reasons and our team will review and get back to you.

What do I need to bring with me on the day?

Wetsuit, sunblock, floatation device, lots of food and water, towels, dry clothing, goggles, dry bag, a bag for your belongings, medication, spare cap (you will be provided with an event cap on the day).

Will I be swimming against the tide?

The date and time of the swim is planned for a day where the tides will be in your favour. You will be starting on an outgoing tide and arriving on an incoming tide. Because you will be swimming a long way you will experience differing tidal movements and conditions.

How much time do I have to complete the swim?

You have no more than 8 hours to complete the swim. If it looks as though you may not get to shore by the cut-off time, your support boat may need to give you a quick lift so that you can complete the swim in time. After 8 hours of swimming, you do not want to be swimming against an outgoing tide!

Do I need to provide my own support crew?

Yes. All solo swimmers/teams must organise their own support crew. No support, no swim! Each solo swimmer/team requires an experienced kayaker and support boat. Your support boat will need to have a VHF radio and enough space and lifejackets to on board everyone (including your kayaker) in the event of an emergency.

If you are a solo swimmer and struggling to find a support boat, there may be other solo swimmers of similar speeds that have a support boat that can also cater for you. Contact the event organiser and let them know where you need help, as they may be able to help you. However, this is your responsibility at the end of the day.

Where can I hire a kayak?

We have two options for Kayak hire:

Canoe & Kayak, Sandringham Road, www.canoeandkayak.co.nz

Ferg’s Kayaks, Tamaki Drive, www.fergs.co.nz

Kayaks hired through either Canoe & Kayak or Ferg’s Kayaks must be transported to the island on their trailers or paddled over the night beforehand. Places are limited so please get in touch as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

What is the swim route?

We are still finalising the exact course route for 2022. Watch this space!


In 2021 the swim started at Kennedy Point on Waiheke Island, we swam just north of Brown’s Island and finished at Okahu Bay in Auckland City.

What pre-requisites are required if I am wanting to swim the whole 20km?

You must be able to provide proof of having swam at least 10km in a recognised event if you plan on swimming the majority or all 20km of the Westpac Chopper Swim.

How can a donor make donations to my fundraising page?

When your fundraising page has been created, you will be sent a link that you can share with your friends and family. They can make a direct donation online and choose the amount they would like to donate. Any donations made on your page will show on your page as well as any team page you may be a part of.

Will donors receive a receipt for their donation?

Donors will receive a receipt from their donation which is automatically sent through the fundraising platform Raisely. As donations are sponsorship of a swimmer/team and not a direct donation to the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, a tax-deductible receipt cannot be issued.

If your donor can not see their receipt, ask them to check junk/spam folders before contacting organisers to reissue another receipt.

Can donors receive a refund of their donation?

Please contact katie@arht.org.nz to discuss refunds. Refunds will not be issued if the swim is cancelled due to reasons outside of the organiser’s control.

Is there a chance the event may be cancelled?

The event may be cancelled at little notice due to reasons outside of the organiser’s control.

In the event of bad weather, organisers will check the forecast and make a decision 12 hours before start time. However, the swim may be cancelled at any point throughout the swim. If wind is forecast to blow over 20kts the event is likely to be cancelled. If the event has already started, swimmers will be advised through VHF radio and must on board their safety boats and make their way to land.

In the event of a cancelation due to Covid-19 in the community, government guidelines must be followed. The Westpac Chopper Swim can only take place under current alert levels 1 or lower.

In the event of water quality issues, the event will not be cancelled. Swimmers will have the option to A) take their support boat to land, B) Take their head out of the water within 1 meter of water, or C) Abort swim. A swimmer can choose to abort the swim at any time.

Is there a rain date?

Due to tides and a heavy volunteer involvement, there is no postponement date for the 2022 Westpac Chopper Swim. Swimmers will be offered a list of alternative swim options to satisfy their donors.

Is there a community page on social media I can join?

Feel free to join the ‘Chopper Swim Challenge’ Facebook group. This page is run by organisers and a place to share questions and information within the Chopper Swim community.

Are there any prizes?

Yes! There are prizes up for grabs for the top fundraisers.

Each swimmer will receive a medal on completion of the swim.

Please note, this event is not a race. Whilst the swim is a personal achievement for all who take part, the focus is on fundraising for the efforts of the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopters.

What happens if I am unwell or injure myself?

Please advise organisers and your support crew if you have any injuries that may prevent you from being able to take part in the Westpac Chopper Swim. If you feel ill or have any symptoms of Covid-19, stay home and advise organisers and support crews of your absence as soon as possible.

If you feel unwell or become injured during the swim, you can abort the swim at any time. Your safety is most important. If you or your support crew are concerned, you can radio the lead boat with your concerns and the paramedic on board can examine your condition.

You must abort the swim if your support crew or the lead boat has reason to believe your safety is at risk.

Where can my friends and family watch my progress on the day?

Your friends and family can view your progress online through live tracking that will be set up prior to you starting. They can find live tracking here on the website on the day of the event.

We encourage friends and family to head down to the finish line to cheer you on as you arrive on to dry land. There will be food and drink available for purchase while they wait.

How do I set up live tracking?

You will be sent details of how to set up your device for live tracking. If you are having difficulty setting your device up, a support person will be available at the start line to give you a hand.

Are there any prizes?

Yes! There are prizes up for grabs for the top fundraisers.

Each swimmer will receive a medal on completion of the swim.

Please note, this event is not a race. Whilst the swim is a personal achievement for all who take part, the focus is on fundraising for the efforts of the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopters.

Can I swim in a team?

Yes! If you have ocean swimming experience, you and your friends can enter a team.

If you are not quite ready for 20km or haven't completed a 10km swim yet, entering a relay team with your friends or workmates is a great way to ease in to long-distance ocean swimming. It's also a great team day out on the water.


We recommend teams consist of 2 to 5 swimmers. When registering a team, make sure you ask that your support boat will be able to safely onboard everyone (including your kayaker) in an emergency.

Your team has the choice to swim the whole 20km together or break the kms up in to a relay. Teams that are swimming together must not separate from each other. Your support team will need to have eyes on everyone who is in the water.

Can I swim without a wetsuit?

A wetsuit is mandatory for safety reasons unless you have permission from the event director to go without. If you turn up on the day without a wetsuit and do not have permission you may not be able to participate in the swim.

Swimming with a wetsuit provides additional buoyancy and helps protect from the elements. If you would like to be exempt from swimming with a wetsuit, please send a message to our team explaining your reasons and our team will review and get back to you.

Can anyone enter the Westpac Chopper Swim?

20km is no easy feat. If you are an experienced ocean swimmer you can register your interest in taking part in the Westpac Chopper Swim.

Anyone who intends to swim the entire 20km must have proof of having swum 10km in a recognised event prior to event day.

Your entry in to the swim is not confirmed until you receive an acceptance email.

All participants must organise their own own support team (an experienced kayaker as well as a boat/skipper), have ocean swimming experience, and fundraise for the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust. Any swimmer who has not fundraised prior to event day may have their entry withdrawn.

Can donors receive a refund of their donation?

Please contact katie@arht.org.nz to discuss refunds. Refunds will not be issued if the swim is cancelled due to reasons outside of the organiser’s control.

Do I need a support crew?

All solo swimmers/ teams are required to have one experienced kayaker and one boat that can safely on-board everyone (including your kayaker) in an emergency.



You must organise your own support crew. No support crew, no swim. If you are struggling to find support, send us a message letting us know what you need (boat, kayaker, both) and we will do our best to help. However, there are no guarantees.

Solo swimmers - We may be able to pair solo swimmers to a boat supporting another solo swimmer of similar swimming speed. Make sure you provide a realistic average 10km swim time in the registration process.

Priority acceptance for the swim will be given to those who have confirmed their support teams upon registering their interest.

Do I need to provide my own support crew?

Yes. All solo swimmers/teams must organise their own support crew. No support, no swim! Each solo swimmer/team requires an experienced kayaker and support boat. Your support boat will need to have a VHF radio and enough space and lifejackets to on board everyone (including your kayaker) in the event of an emergency.

If you are a solo swimmer and struggling to find a support boat, there may be other solo swimmers of similar speeds that have a support boat that can also cater for you. Contact the event organiser and let them know where you need help, as they may be able to help you. However, this is your responsibility at the end of the day.

How can a donor make donations to my fundraising page?

When your fundraising page has been created, you will be sent a link that you can share with your friends and family. They can make a direct donation online and choose the amount they would like to donate. Any donations made on your page will show on your page as well as any team page you may be a part of.

How do I set up live tracking?

You will be sent details of how to set up your device for live tracking. If you are having difficulty setting your device up, a support person will be available at the start line to give you a hand.

How much time do I have to complete the swim?

You have no more than 8 hours to complete the swim. If it looks as though you may not get to shore by the cut-off time, your support boat may need to give you a quick lift so that you can complete the swim in time. After 8 hours of swimming, you do not want to be swimming against an outgoing tide!

Is there a chance the event may be cancelled?

The event may be cancelled at little notice due to reasons outside of the organiser’s control.

In the event of bad weather, organisers will check the forecast and make a decision 12 hours before start time. However, the swim may be cancelled at any point throughout the swim. If wind is forecast to blow over 20kts the event is likely to be cancelled. If the event has already started, swimmers will be advised through VHF radio and must on board their safety boats and make their way to land.

In the event of a cancelation due to Covid-19 in the community, government guidelines must be followed. The Westpac Chopper Swim can only take place under current alert levels 1 or lower.

In the event of water quality issues, the event will not be cancelled. Swimmers will have the option to A) take their support boat to land, B) Take their head out of the water within 1 meter of water, or C) Abort swim. A swimmer can choose to abort the swim at any time.

Is there a community page on social media I can join?

Feel free to join the ‘Chopper Swim Challenge’ Facebook group. This page is run by organisers and a place to share questions and information within the Chopper Swim community.

Is there a rain date?

Due to tides and a heavy volunteer involvement, there is no postponement date for the 2022 Westpac Chopper Swim. Swimmers will be offered a list of alternative swim options to satisfy their donors.

What are the entry costs?

There is no entry fee to take part in this swim. We ask each solo swimmer to fundraise a minimum of $500 and each team to raise a minimum of $1,000. If you haven’t fundraised by event day your entry may be withdrawn.

What do I need to bring with me on the day?

Wetsuit, sunblock, floatation device, lots of food and water, towels, dry clothing, goggles, dry bag, a bag for your belongings, medication, spare cap (you will be provided with an event cap on the day).

What happens if I am unwell or injure myself?

Please advise organisers and your support crew if you have any injuries that may prevent you from being able to take part in the Westpac Chopper Swim. If you feel ill or have any symptoms of Covid-19, stay home and advise organisers and support crews of your absence as soon as possible.

If you feel unwell or become injured during the swim, you can abort the swim at any time. Your safety is most important. If you or your support crew are concerned, you can radio the lead boat with your concerns and the paramedic on board can examine your condition.

You must abort the swim if your support crew or the lead boat has reason to believe your safety is at risk.

What is the Westpac Chopper Swim?

The Westpac Chopper Swim is a 20km swim fundraiser. The swim starts at Waiheke Island and finishes in Auckland City with the main focus to raise vital funds for the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust. Unlike a race, this swim is recognised as a great personal achievement and for a great cause.

What is the swim route?

We are still finalising the exact course route for 2022. Watch this space!


In 2021 the swim started at Kennedy Point on Waiheke Island, we swam just north of Brown’s Island and finished at Okahu Bay in Auckland City.

What pre-requisites are required if I am wanting to swim the whole 20km?

You must be able to provide proof of having swam at least 10km in a recognised event if you plan on swimming the majority or all 20km of the Westpac Chopper Swim.

Where can I hire a kayak?

We have two options for Kayak hire:

Canoe & Kayak, Sandringham Road, www.canoeandkayak.co.nz

Ferg’s Kayaks, Tamaki Drive, www.fergs.co.nz

Kayaks hired through either Canoe & Kayak or Ferg’s Kayaks must be transported to the island on their trailers or paddled over the night beforehand. Places are limited so please get in touch as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Where can my friends and family watch my progress on the day?

Your friends and family can view your progress online through live tracking that will be set up prior to you starting. They can find live tracking here on the website on the day of the event.

We encourage friends and family to head down to the finish line to cheer you on as you arrive on to dry land. There will be food and drink available for purchase while they wait.

Will I be swimming against the tide?

The date and time of the swim is planned for a day where the tides will be in your favour. You will be starting on an outgoing tide and arriving on an incoming tide. Because you will be swimming a long way you will experience differing tidal movements and conditions.

Will donors receive a receipt for their donation?

Donors will receive a receipt from their donation which is automatically sent through the fundraising platform Raisely. As donations are sponsorship of a swimmer/team and not a direct donation to the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, a tax-deductible receipt cannot be issued.

If your donor can not see their receipt, ask them to check junk/spam folders before contacting organisers to reissue another receipt.

Find out about volunteer roles at this event.

Volunteer

Check out where we are swimming from.

The course

Got a question? We want to hear from you.

Contact us