Weekly Swims with Odyssey Open Water Swimming
Odyssey Open Water Swimming offers you weekly opportunities to swim in the open waters of the East Bay in Berkeley, California. Whether you’re from San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, or just in town for the weekend, we welcome you to join our group for a fun swim, and don’t forget to take a #buoyselfie with us using our GoPro camera.
Odyssey Open Water Swimming provides weekly swims throughout the entire year, rain or shine. Beginning at the Berkeley Marina, each swim spans from .5 -- 2 miles. Each Berkeley swim is open to swimmers at all levels of comfort and experience, and swimmers can choose the distance that best suits their abilities and goals.
Odyssey coaches will set up varied routes with buoys, and will oversee the swims in kayaks and/or stand up paddleboards. For advanced swimmers, we will have routes that average about one mile (70 lengths of a 25 yard pool). You may choose to swim longer than a mile. Beginner and intermediate swimmers can swim at their own pace and can choose to swim a shorter route, usually about half a mile (35 lengths of a 25 yard pool) or less.
Weekly Berkeley Swim Schedule: When Can You Join Us?
10:00am (all year)
March: 6pm, beginning March 12 (when Daylight Savings)
Weekly swims are just one of many offerings from Odyssey Open Water. We regularly host larger swims and races, from Alcatraz to the Bridge to Bridge swim to our new Splash & Dash race. Check out all of our Events tab to see what is coming up!
Ready to Join Us?
Affordably Priced Adventures for You
Odyssey Open Water Swimming is dedicated to providing the best open water swimming events in California at an affordable price. There are no membership requirements and there are discounts ($2 off) for online registrations.
$20 In-person (cash or credit card)
$10 Online (enter code "STUDENT" for discount)
$12 In-person (cash or credit card)
Must be a full-time student and provide a current photo student ID. We welcome swimmers under the age of 18 who bring a completed waiver with parent/guardian signature or who are accompanied by a parent or guardian who can fill out the waiver in person. Access the waiver here.
$275 for students (you must be a full-time student for the entire year and must show current school ID)
Valid for Tuesday and Sunday Berkeley swims (not valid for big events)
Valid for 4 months
You can always pay for swims individually and do not need an annual pass to participate. However, for those who plan on coming regularly, these passes can help you save money throughout the year. Valid for one year after date of purchase. These passes are valid only for Tuesday and Sunday swims. To purchase an annual pass, see the "Purchase an Annual Pass" section at the bottom of the Sign Up tab.
What Should You Bring?
We’re frequently asked what you should bring when swimming with Odyssey Open Water Swimming. We recommend the following:
Swimsuit/Wetsuit: Wetsuits are not required, but many swimmers choose to wear one, especially during winter months where the weather drops to the 50s and 60s. For comparison, pools used for competitive swimming are supposed to be between 77 and 82 degrees.
If you choose to wear a wetsuit but aren't ready to commit to buying one, you can rent them at Sports Basement for $25 a week or $50 a month. Sports Basement rents Blue Seventy and 2XU suits, which are both specifically for open water swimming, but if you have a surfing-style wetsuit, that works just fine, too.
Bright colored swim cap (or buy a nice ODYSSEY silicone cap at the swim for $4). This is important to help you be seen easily during the swim.
Warm clothes, food, and water for afterwards
Also, if you are a first-time Odyssey swimmer you will need to fill out a waiver, which you can find here. Please bring the completed form to your first swim. Swimmers under 18 must have a parent/guardian sign the waiver regardless of if they signed up online. If you don’t have a printer, we have waivers available at swims.
Where Should You Meet Us?
For Berkeley swims, we meet by the first (farther east) dock at the southeast corner of the marina, just east of the Cal Sailing Club. Check out the map below. Go west on University Ave., and as you enter the marina, stay to the left at the split, then turn left into the first parking lot.
Each swim begins with a short safety briefing that covers conditions and allows participants to ask questions. We suggest getting there 10 minutes early to change and stretch before the briefing.
Please note that in the event of an unusually low tide, we will meet and enter the water at our alternative entry point. When this happens, we will leave a whiteboard at the usual dock notifying swimmers of the change. The alternative entry point is just one minute up the road next to the HS Lordships restaurant. Continue to the end of University Avenue, then take a left and continue to the end of the road.
Have more questions about the swims? Check out the FAQs below or contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see you at our next swim!
Weekly Swims FAQs
Is there parking available?
Free parking is available at the Berkeley Marina.
Do swims happen if it is cold/raining?
Yes. Odyssey Open Water swims rain or shine, warm or cold. Whether the water temperature if 52 degrees and cloudy or 70 and rainy, we will be out there in the water together. On the very rare occasions that the marina is closed, we will post a message on our website to inform swimmers.
Can first-time open water swimmers participate?
Yes. Our weekly Berkeley swims are a great opportunity to get your first swimming experience in the open water. Our coaches and staff will be there to help and support you!
How far do you have to swim?
Berkeley swim routes range from .5-3 miles based on your comfort level. You can take the swim at your own pace and there is always a coach and kayaker at these swims to help those who want to work on their form or are new to swimming in the open water.
Do I need a wetsuit?
Wetsuits are recommended but not required. We have swimmers who prefer to wear a speedo and others who buy or rent a wetsuit. If you do wear a wetsuit, bring Glide or lubricant to avoid chafing.
Can I use fins, paddles, a snorkel, or buoy?
Yes, you are welcome to bring what will make you comfortable.
What are the dangers of swimming in the open water?
Open water swimming in the Bay Area presents risks due to boat traffic, cold water temperatures, and strong currents. Odyssey takes many precautions to make all of our swims safe. The Berkeley Marina -- where we do our weekly swims -- is relatively protected from winds and currents, and the only boats present are small sailboats next to the area where we swim. Odyssey coordinates with the sailing club to safely share the space. Our swim coaches and trained paddlers are also always on hand to make sure you are safe.
What is the water temperature?
The water temperature varies depending on the time of year. In the winter months, water temperature can drop to the low 50’s Fahrenheit. In the summer, the water temperature near the Berkeley Marina can rise up to 72° Fahrenheit.