An open letter from Ram Barkai, chairman of the International Ice Swimming Association, to those interested in supporting, volunteering for, attempting and doing ice swimming, participating in ice swimming competitions, and completing safe and officially recognized Ice Miles.

Dear all frozen ones,

International Ice Swimming Association has been growing rapidly over the past few years. It is attracting a lot of attention from media, swimmers and many others who are fascinated by our mad sport. It is getting more mature and commercialised in some aspects as it creates business opportunities and allows those who have gained vast experience to share it with others and bring in their own ideas.

A lot has been invested in our IISA brand, in countries, web site, record keeping and in safety. To those who have been in ICE for a while, they have seen the growth and its costs, to newcomers, naturally, they assume we are resourceful, wealthy and it was all a smooth cruise in the ICE.

Recently, we have encountered increasing number of uses of IISA brand without adhering to our rules. Aside from hurting IISA it is also damaging our effort with FINA and Olympic committee as their requirements are very strict and unambiguous.

IISA has taken some steps to make sure the work done by many and the AMAZING achievements by hundreds in ICE Miles and thousands in ICE KM are protected, respected and swims integrity and safety are in place.

IISA board has met last week to discuss several issues and we would like to communicate the outcome:

1. IISA® and The International Ice Swimming Association ® are Trade Mark protected and by association IISA® Ice Mile, IISA® Ice Km are legally protected as well. We are not obligated to display the annoying ® every time. But we hope point has been made!
1.1. Anyone can swim anywhere, in the ICE under whatever rules, safety and distances they choose. However, claiming a swim under IISA without verification or participating in IISA events without paying – is legally wrong and EVEN MORE important – it is unethical and disrespectful to all the swimmers who swam and achieved, followed the rules and paid whatever was required.
1.2. Only IISA can approve an IISA Ice Mile – any other attempt to claim or approve an Ice Mile under IISA will be declined and place the swimmer and the event organisers in breach.
1.3. No certificates or any type of awards for an IISA Ice Mile are allowed until such time IISA has officially ratified the attempt. Any further awards require use of IISA logo and make it clear it was an IISA Ice Mile.
1.4. Anyone who breaches that, places him/her self in breach of trade mark and IISA Rules and may lose his/her IISA membership, records and be banned from IISA events, including World Champ or others.

2. IISA Ice Mile Events:
2.1. Following an unfortunate wind that altered IISA Morocco Ice Mile event course and made it shorter, the board has decided, unanimously, that it would not ratify the Ice Mile swam there. Since there was no deliberate action, IISA has decided to refund application fees and IISA Morocco has kindly offered a credit Ice Miler swim attempt to those who return next year.
2.2. IISA has also declined an Ice Mile attempt where the swimmer applied and refused to pay swim fees. IISA currently considering the swimmer membership and other records.
2.3. ISA board has decided, unanimously, that it no longer allow for Ice Mile eventsin open water course. The safety and issues regarding qualifying and ratifying those attempts led to this decision. We have also encountered increased discrepancies in swimmers information in an Ice Mile event.
2.4. Ice Mile Events will be only allowed in a Pool Course with maximum of four swimmers per heat, with sufficient medical and recovery team to oversee the event, a Pool Course is limited to minimum length of 25m and a maximum of 100m.
2.5. IISA is in a process of educating and qualifying Ice Swimming organisers. It will take us sometime, but the process has started.
2.6. Effective immediately, anyone who wishes to organise a Pool course, Ice Mile event, will have to notify IISA in advance and work together with its national IISA federation.
2.7. It was also agreed that Ice Mile Events participants will have to pay IISA Ice Mile application fees in advance, else, they will not be allowed to participate in the event.
2.8. Event organiser who allows participating in IISA Ice Mile event without checking that the swimmer has qualified and paid its fees to IISA will place him/her self in dispute with IISA.
2.9. IISA is open to subsidise the event entry fees from the Ice Mile application fees with the event organiser. Fees paid are not refundable.
2.10. IISA support Ice Mile attempts in open water course, if they run consecutively and each attempt is treated as an individual attempt with all safety resources allocated to the swimmer.

3. IISA Ice Mile fees
3.1. It was noted that some complaints have received to the cost of the application.
3.2. IISA feels that for majority of the swimmers, an Ice Mile is a once-in-a-lifetime extreme achievement and is considered very cheap in comparative to the costs of other sports similar achievements.

4. IISA is in the process of sourcing new Ice Mile and other IISA badges with the new IISA Logo.
4.1. IISA will provide a variety of badges that will state one’s achievement. (for example, the new Ice Mile badge will state IISA ICE MILE, to eliminate possible pirating or confusion)
4.2. The first batch of new badges will be available in Vermont Ice swimming event end of Feb. another batch will be available in Murmansk IISA World Championships.
4.3. Each qualified Ice Miler will be eligible for one free new IISA ICE MILE Badge (shipping at your own costs).

5. Last but not least – without too many details, yet. IISA is progressing its Olympic dream and we hope to have further news later of this year.

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