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Islesboro Crossing for LifeFlight

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Thank you for your interest! If you'd like to volunteer, paddle, or make sure you're on our list to receive info next year, please email Shannon Thompson at or call 207-230-7092.

5K Open Water Swim across Penobscot Bay

Start Time: 7:00 am
Welcome Dinner and Swimmer/Paddler Meeting: Friday, August 19, 2016, 6:30 pm
Distance: 5K (3.1 miles) in West Penobscot Bay, point to point from Northport to Islesboro.
Registration Fee: $0
Fundraising Requirement: $200 minimum—raise it or pay it, your choice. No additional registration fee!
More Info: Shannon Thompson at
or 207-230-7092.

This 5K (3.1-mile) open water swim across upper Penobscot Bay is now in its 4th year and already has a reputation for being one of the best events of its kind in New England. With exceptional organization, safety support, community spirit, and perks for participants, it’s easy to see why this event sells out. Swimming from Northport to Islesboro is no small feat. But bringing emergency medical services to Maine islands is an effort of huge proportions. The swimmers who take on this challenge, and the sponsors who support them, make it possible for LifeFlight to serve these islands and the entire state.

All proceeds benefit LifeFlight of Maine
Inspired by two year old Oliver Cleveland’s successful LifeFlight transport from Islesboro to Eastern Maine Medical Center after accidental poison ingestion in 2015, all proceeds from this year’s event will support advanced clinical education for those who respond to pediatric emergencies.

The course
This is a point-to-point 5K (3.1 miles) swim with a beach start at Point Lookout in Northport. The course will have floating buoys approximately every half kilometer
to help ensure swimmers are staying within the course. Once out of the bay, it is a straight swim across the West Penobscot Channel of Penobscot Bay for just over 4 kilometers and then a right turn and straight leg to Grindle Point at Gilkey Harbor on Islesboro.

It’s not a race
Keeping the focus on LifeFlight and on the challenge inherent in merely getting to the island, this event is not timed. We give prizes for raising money, not for speed. You are welcome to time yourself, of course. And it doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of friendly competition among swimming pals who want it.

What to expect in the bay
Wind and waves are generally calmest in the morning, and we have timed the swim so currents will be minimized. The water temperature in August averages around 64 degrees at the shore and 55 degrees in deeper water. Wetsuits are encouraged. You will be swimming alongside other athletes with a shared mission and you’ll be surrounded by a flotilla of kayaks, paddleboards and multiple safety boats. The sense of community is simply amazing. Expect to be welcomed by volunteers and cheering crowds on Islesboro.

Safety first!
Safety is our #1 priority. You are required to arrange your own support person with a kayak or SUP. Many swimmers find it extremely helpful to have an escort who can provide opportunities to rest and re-fuel with energy snacks and hydration, as well as encouragement. There will be safety rescue boats on the course, with medical supplies and emergency medical crew on board. The course will be well marked with buoys, and spotter boats will also be located throughout the course for added safety.

About the weather
Speaking of safety, in the event that weather conditions make it unsafe to attempt the swim as scheduled, it will be postponed (“weather date” TBD soon), depending on availability of safety personnel and event volunteers. Should conditions and/or lack of support personnel or swimmers and escorts make the “weather date” impractical, the swim will be cancelled without refund.

Athletes and paddler benefits
All athletes and their support people are invited to a welcome dinner the night before the swim (this is offered in conjunction with the safety briefing.) It’s held at “the top of the hill” at the spectacular Point Lookout Resort and Conference Center, overlooking Penobscot Bay and the very route you’ll be taking for the swim. Athletes and volunteers also receive T-shirts and goodie bags, as well as a warm welcome with a medal and a wide variety of food and drinks on Islesboro.

About the fundraising
You are required to raise or pay a minimum of $200 to participate. But why stop there? To support LifeFlight’s mission, we encourage every swimmer to go above and beyond the $200 minimum, and we are pleased to offer many fundraising incentives. In addition to the welcome dinner, T-shirts, and goodie bags, we’ll be giving away all kinds of cool prizes to say “thank you” to our top fundraisers. Stay tuned for more info!

Volunteer opportunities
Want to be part of this incredible event but not swimming? We couldn’t do it without the great work of dozens of volunteers. You can escort a swimmer, help on Islesboro, assist athletes, provide administrative support, and so much more. Contact Shannon at or 207-230-7092 for details.

Mail checks to:
LifeFlight Foundation
Memo: Islesboro Crossing, Swimmer's Name
PO Box 899
Camden, ME 04843

Help Files

Special Thanks to:
Camden National Bank Logo