Fred Schiel is never far away from water. Whether it is chlorine or salt, it seems to be in his blood.

The pool builder with dozens of award-winning designs to his name at California Pools wanted to try his hand at escorting open water swimmers with his Boston Whaler.

While he is a pool and open water swimmer himself, he had never formally escorted a swimmer out in the ocean. So he enlisted the help of Parks Wesson and Lexie Kelly and off their went 16 km out into the Pacific Ocean.

Fred was great,” recalled the Long Beach-based Kelly. “We started out in calm water and then the winds came up and it got a bit turbulent. With all the boat traffic over the weekend, it could not have been easy, but Fred hung closely by my side. Always smiling and cheerful, he was nearly always at my side and the feedings went smoothly. I felt safe and all I had to do is turn my head to see his smiling face as he piloted us for 3 hours straight.

It was an outstanding escort for his first time.


Like swimmers testing out a new waterway for the first time, escort boat pilots can benefit from practicing and talking in detail with their swimmers prior to race day. While the pilots in the English Channel, North Channel, Catalina Channel, lac St-Jean, lac Memphremagog, Molokai Channel, Tsugaru Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, Lake Ontario, and Rottnest Channel are as experienced as they come, with the growth of the sport, the community is always in need of new pilots willing to help swimmers achieve their goals.

And its pilots like Schiel who will help fill the vacuum.

For a global list of escort boat pilots around the world, visit here on Openwaterpedia.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming