The White Rock Polar Bear Plunge is one of several icy New Year’s Day polar bear swims that take place in Metro Vancouver on January 1st each year.
Polar Bear Plunge in White Rock
Every year crowds gather to watch hundreds of brave souls in swimsuits and funny costumes celebrate the New Year by going for a first-day-of-the-year swim in the ocean.
The event attracts thousands of onlookers and is hosted by the Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue Unit 5 and a number of local Rotary clubs.
Polar Plunge 2019
In 2018 the White Rock Polar Plunge celebrated its 48th year on Monday, January 1st. Registration happened at 10:30 am and the swimming started at noon. We anticipate the schedule to be the same for Tuesday, January 1, 2019.
The event takes place in the community of White Rock at the beach just east of the pier not far from the community’s landmark giant white rock.
In 2018 over 3000 people were expected to attend the event, and organizers hoped that as many as 800 of them brought their swimsuits.
Free hot chocolate and coffee were available at the swim in 2018 and there were hot dogs for sale for people who got hungry.
Participation in the Polar Swim
Participants in the White Rock Polar Bear Plunge are encouraged to register for the event. Polar Bear plunging is free and registered participants get an official Polar Plunge certificate. Swimmers are encouraged to wear costumes and prizes are awarded for the best.
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most out of your White Rock Polar Bear Plunge experience.
TIP #1: If swimming, wear a costume because it’s fun, there are prizes and it might help keep you warm (or at least warmer than just your trunks or bikini). Also, consider wearing some kind of water shoes as the tide might be close to where the beach gets rocky.
TIP #2: Don’t be upset if your photo appears in the newspaper (or in online media like Vancouver’s Best Places). This is a public event and media will be there! Not wanting to be recognized or show off too much skin is another good reason to wear a costume.
TIP #3: Don’t forget to take a towel, camera, warm clothes to change into afterwards and your friends and family.
TIP #4: This is one time when swimming on an empty stomach might not be the best idea. Having a bit of food inside you, like a Rotary Club hot dog or free cup of hot chocolate, might help keep you an extra degree or two warmer.
To register for the 2018 event or for more information, click White Rock Polar Bear Swim. We will update it with the 2019 registration form when it becomes available.
Other polar bear swims take place in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Port Moody, Delta and Fort Langley. For details about these other events click Lower Mainland New Year’s Swims.
For information about the venue and surrounding area, see our page about White Rock.