We meet at Grimaldo’s Chair at 10:00 am every Saturday and Sunday between Memorial Day and Labor Day. (Who is Grimaldo?)

You don’t need to be a member to come hang out with us. We want to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience, so if you’re new to the sport, here’s some important safety tips to keep in mind:

Start your swim against current, so your return swim will be easier.

Stay within Grimaldo’s Bay your first few attempts. If you want to go farther, know that the white building can have strong currents, as can some of the jetties near the pier/wonder wheel.

Swim within your abilities. We have some very experienced, elite, and ambitious swimmers, many of whom have been training out here for over 10 years. They and have acclimated to the cold, know the currents and their own abilities very well. Just because someone else is doing it, doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

If you are shivering in the water, or cannot touch your pinky to your thumb, it is time to get out.

Wear a brightly colored cap, and be aware we sometimes share the ocean with passing boats, kite-surfers and jet-skis.

Swim closer to shore if you feel nervous, uncomfortable, or are suddenly not feeling well. If you continue to feel unwell, cut your swim short and swim to shore.

Swim with a buddy–make sure someone knows you are out there. It’s best to swim with a partner. Watch out for each other. Even if you end up separated at some point, or you decide to get out, be sure to alert your buddy that you’re getting out early. Make sure your buddy completes their swim. If you need to leave, make sure others know your buddy is still out there swimming and ask someone to keep a lookout for them. Know what their bag looks like.

Don’t swim too far out (don’t go past the end of the pier)–there is more boat traffic out there, and you will make the lifeguards nervous. We want to keep the lifeguards happy.

Stay clear of jetties–they are slippery, sharp, and can have tricky currents.

If you get stuck at a jetty and can’t go forward and are getting tired and want to get out, go backwards, allowing the current to help take you to the shore behind you. Don’t Panic! Always be prepared to change your plan. It’s the ocean. She’s in charge–you’re just along for the ride.

Don’t bring valuables on the beach–there are no lockers. Everybody helps keep an eye on everyone else’s stuff. Please don’t ask the lifeguards to watch your personal belongings–they have more important things to attend to.

Lifeguards are on the beach from 10-6 Memorial through Labor Day. Nearby restrooms are open at this time.                                               

If in doubt, get out. CIBBOWS strives to have everyone’s swim experience as safe and as enjoyable as possible, but you are swimming at your own risk. Respect your limitations.

We are not a learn-to-swim program. We are happy to refer you to a local pool where you can learn skills you need to tackle open water, and heartily encourage you to learn how to swim so we can share the love, but you need to have some basic swimming skills in order to safely come out and swim with us.

If you know how to swim but are nervous or new to open water swimming, consider taking one of our beginner clinics.


For an interactive map check out Google Maps. You can also see a single 3mi swim loop (Grimaldo’s Chair to the “White” Building (it’s now red), then to the Coney Island Pier, then back to Grimaldo’s Chair) with this Gmap Pedometer Course. Here are some swim distances, parallel to the shoreline approximately 100 yards out, past the jetties.

From To Yards Meters
Grimaldo’s Chair Small rocks (West of Grimaldo) 416 382
Grimaldo’s Chair Large rocks (West of Grimaldo) 619 566
Grimaldo’s Chair “White” Building (Now Red) 824 753
Grimaldo’s Chair Cyclone 1,480 1,287
Grimaldo’s Chair Coney Island Pier 1,956 1,789
White Building Coney Island Pier 2,779 2,541
Coney Island Pier Seagate 1,703 1,557
West 22nd St. Next set of rocks (either direction) 200 183
West 22nd St. Coney Island Pier 503 460
Ex-White Building (Now Red) Seagate 4,482 4,098
Rocks (East of Grimaldo) Small Rocks (West of Grimaldo) 776 710
Rocks (East of Grimaldo) Large Rocks (West of Grimaldo) 959 877
Ex-White Building (Now Red) Large Rocks (West of Grimaldo) 1,443 1,319