Alcatraz Crossings

The crossings from Alcatraz are recommended for swimmers who have either taken the Water World Swim Alcatraz Swim Clinic or who feel confident and have had prior experience swimming in the open water.

Our crossings are usually limited to 30-35 swimmers and are accompanied by three or more of our coaches. Our crossings are supported by the best Water World Swim kayaker pilots. After a brief but thorough discussion of the conditions of the bay during your crossing, we will jump from the boat and swim toward our destination across the bay.

Swimmers will be divided in two or three groups of slow, medium and competitive levels which are accompanied by our coaches. This is an exciting and thrilling swim for all levels!

Island to Island is a unique monthly crossing.

Commemorate your swim with an Alcatraz tee!

Registration for our Annual Races includes an event-specific tee. These tees (shown at right) are a great way to commemorate Monthly Alcatraz crossings, for which registration does not include a tee. Choose from three colors and wear your accomplishment!

Alcatraz to St. Francis route - often an easier crossing due to strong ebbs pushing swimmers

Alcatraz to Aquatic Park route - the classic crossing featured in our annual Alcatraz races

Why don't swims start directly at Alcatraz with a jump off the Rock?

As Alcatraz is partly a bird sanctuary, boats, kayaks, and the people on them are prohibited from getting within 100 meters of Alcatraz, especially from February through September which is breeding season. This means our Alcatraz crossings do not start directly at Alcatraz. Water World Swim respects the environment, aiming to keep the sport of open water swimming a live collaboration between the athletes and the oceans. 


  • Maximum 35 swimmers
  • 1.25 mi swim from Alcatraz to Aquatic Park or St. Francis
  • The St. Francis route is easier due to ebbs, and is a common route for major triathlons
  • The Aquatic Park route is slightly more challenging, and featured in our annual events
  • $205 registration fee, $149 for members
  • Recommended for WWS Clinic participants or Alcatraz 100 club members
Coach Pedro swims his 500th Alcatraz
Note on swimmers under 18

Safety is our priority in challenging waters! Participants must be at least 12 years old to participate by signing up online. No children under 7 are accepted. Children under 12 must be evaluated by a Water World Swim coach in a private session for a non-refundable $95 fee and must be registered at time of evaluation. The fee also covers an accompanying coach in the water during the swim. Registration will be refunded if the minor is deemed not suitable to participate.

If the under 12 minor is coming from out of town and is unable to be assessed by Water World Swim, we require a certified coach to evaluate the minor and contact us via email or written documentation certifying their ability and recommending their participation. Out of town minors under 12 must pay an additional $95 to have an accompanying coach in the water.

Contact us about having your young swimmer join us!