The Buzzards Bay Coalition will hold its 28th annual Buzzards Bay Swim, a 1.2-mile open-water swim across outer New Bedford Harbor. The swim is a signature outdoor event held by the coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting clean water in communities across the Buzzards Bay region. In the past 28 years, the Buzzards Bay Swim has raised more than a million dollars for clean water.

This year’s swim will follow the traditional route from the South End of New Bedford to Fort Phoenix Beach State Reservation in Fairhaven, but the field of participants has been kept intentionally small, reflecting public health precautions in place when the event was planned. In 2019, the swim drew 278 swimmers who raised more than $170,000 for Bay protection efforts; this year, it will be limited to 50 swimmers who have participated in the past and have agreed to raise at least $1,000.

Rob Thieler, a swimmer who participates with his fellow Chappy Swimmers group members, said he is looking forward to the event. “We are longtime supporters of the coalition and its mission. Water quality, conservation, and public access are all vitally important to how we enjoy the Bay. And honestly, we also love a good race! The Swim is one of the most fun and best-run events in New England,” Thieler said.

During the event, swimmers pass the iconic Butler Flats Lighthouse and the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier, one of the largest stone structures on the East Coast, assisted by the US Coast Guard and a local safety patrol. The participants are welcomed to the finish line by supporters and a beach party breakfast complete with steel drum music and beverages by Buzzards Bay Brewing of Westport.

The 2021 Buzzards Bay Swim is sponsored by BayCoast Bank, BETA Group, Cuttyhunk Shellfish Farms, Amica Insurance, Bristol County Savings Bank, Buzzards Bay Brewing, Cisco Brewers and the Fiber Optic Center.

For more information on the swim, visit

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