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City Council approve Bristol harbour for public swimming trial

The pilot will last five weeks and cost £7 for an hour-long session


From April 29th swimmers will have the opportunity to take a dip in Bristol’s harbour as Bristol City Council announced that it would be launching a five-week swimming pilot.

The pilot, which ends on May 28th, will take place every Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 10 am and will allow a maximum of 80 people to swim in each one-hour session, which can be booked online for £7.

Over the five weeks, a 200-metre course will be cordoned off by Baltic Wharf, with an access ramp being located in front of The Cottage Inn.

The ban on swimming in the harbour and the River Avon has become increasingly unpopular in recent years and the relentless protests and campaigns have finally led to the council deciding to launch this pilot.

Health and safety are of course of paramount importance during the pilot, particularly as the harbour remains a working area.

Writing on his blog, Mayor Marvin Rees said: “To make sure we can offer an area that is safe to swim there must be measures in place to ensure the health and safety of all harbour users.

“There will be lifeguards and safety boats to help keep people using the swimming facility safe.”

On top of these measures, water quality sampling will be taking place to ensure that swimmers do not have to be concerned about the possibility of becoming ill after taking a dip in the harbour.

The £7 cost of an hour-long session has been met with considerable criticism due to being more expensive than most of Bristol’s indoor swimming pools.

For instance, Bristol South Swimming Pool, located approximately a 20-minute walk away from where the pilot is taking place, charges £5.40 an hour.

When discussing the cost, Mr Rees stated: “This small charge allows us to have in place the necessary water safety provisions.”

Concerning the pilot as a whole, he added: “This trial will allow us to assess whether or not we can provide a designated open water swimming area that is safe and financially sustainable.”

Hopefully, the pilot will show that creating a permanent swimming area in the harbour is both financially viable and safe, potentially allowing students, locals, and visitors to take a dip over the summer months.

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