Channel swim organisers prepared for jellyfish

CROSS channel swimmers will brave a sea of jellyfish when they attempt to swim from Pantai Bersih in Butterworth to the beach near Gurney Drive during the 4th Penang International Cross Channel Swim 2018 on Sept 2.

Penang Island City Council mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said participants needed to be fully dressed in wet suits.

“The old way of protecting your body by coating it with grease will not work anymore.

“In this international competition, it is mandatory for all participants to wear a full suit, swim buoy, hood, swim glove and swim cap as safety measures,” he said in a press conference recently.

The event will take place from 7am to 1pm.

“After consulting with Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (Cemacs) director Datuk Prof Dr Aileen Tan and several other marine specialists, we chose the event’s date and time, which is expected to see a low number of jellyfish and perfect tidal heights,” he said.

Yew said medical teams and professional lifesavers in rescue boats would be on standby.

“We are also getting aid from the police, Marine Department and fishermen’s associations.”

The sea around Penang is known to have a large population of jellyfish. Recently Cemacs scientists found box jellyfish in the sea between Butterworth and the island’s northern shores.

Some box jellyfish species are known to deliver debilitating stings which are potentially lethal for children and senior citizens.

Race director Tan Kuan Ling said the event was divided into two categories -– competitive and non-competitive.

“For both categories, the minimum age for participation is 14 years old. Participants must also have experience in open water swimming in the past 12 months and must be able to tread water in a 2,000m-deep swimming pool continuously.

“Registration fee is RM190 for locals and USD$90 for foreigners. Closing date for registration is today.

“Trophies will be given to the top five male and female swimmers in the competitive category. This event is limited to only 400 participants,” she added.

To mark Asia Pacific Masters Games (APMG) 2018, the cross channel swim will include the APMG-Penang Cross Channel Torch Swim.

Yew will start and end the torch swim for the first 500 metres along with Kevin Yeap Soon Choy (SEA Games 2017 10km open water swimming gold medallist) and Angelia Ong Su Lin (former national and Penang swimmer).

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