In 1977, Save The Bay asked people to swim from Jamestown to Newport to support the organization and to call for greater efforts to improve water quality in the Bay. Some 100 people take part. The Save The Bay Swim is born.
Our history is one of accomplishment for the Bay. Once choked by raw sewage and dying a slow death from industrial toxins, the Bay is now making a strong comeback. There is still room for improvement, but more people than ever before are able to swim, fish, sail, and enjoy the waters of Narragansett Bay.
About 500 swimmers and nearly 200 kayakers between the ages of 15 and 83+ annually participate in the 1.7-nautical-mile journey from Naval Station Newport on Coaster’s Harbor Island across the East Passage to Jamestown’s Potter Cove, while others will swim virtually in lakes or pools and on couches across the globe.
One of the most storied open-water swims in the United States, the Save The Bay Swim celebrates tremendous progress in cleaning up Narragansett Bay since its first official Swim in 1977 and the organization’s founding in 1970. In the early years of the Swim, swimmers often emerged from the water with oil and tar balls on their skin and swimsuits. In recent years, swimmers reported seeing schools of menhaden beneath them as they swam.