One of the most popular spectacles on Pembrokeshire’s festive calendar is taking shape to see in the New Year once again - with moves in place to protect the charity event’s future.

On January 1, 2024, the organisers of the Saundersfoot New Year’s Day Swim will celebrate its 39th charity event

The event started in 1984 with just 10 swimmers, and turning to 2023, and amazing 2,254 took to the sea to take part, with a crowd of roughly 9,000 watching!

“The swim has developed into an incredible spectacle and is classed by Pembrokeshire County Council as a major event,” said county councillor for the seaside village’s south ward Cllr Chris Williams, whose father Martyn was one of the founders of the event.

Cllr Williams, who has taken on the role of chair of the charity swim, which is also the biggest festive dip in the UK and to date has raised over £750k for charities, went onto say: “We cannot stress enough the importance of swimmers raising monies from their personal sponsorship as this makes such a big difference annually to the supported causes.

“Every year we have been heavily reliant on sponsors and volunteers to successfully stage the event. Every swim takes 12 months to plan and to ensure the safety of both swimmers and spectators we have meetings with the Police, Fire Brigade, PCC, St John’s and the Swim’s own H&S group of safety experts.

Saundersfoot swim
Particpants of the Saundersfoot New Year's Day Swim (Pic. Gareth Davies Photography)

“The event is fully insured, our insurances covering all who attend. In addition the team carry out an extensive risk assessment and put in place a host of mitigation actions to ensure, swimmers, spectators and the 100 volunteer helpers are kept safe on the day of the Swim.

“As we invite people to the village to either participate or spectate, we have the responsibility of making sure that everyone enters and exits the sea safely and that the crowds around the event are safe and having a good time.”

Cllr Williams has highlighted that as the responsibilities of hosting the swim have grown, so have costs, rising last year to over £12,500.

“Previously, this event would not have been possible, without the incredible sponsorship we get for the New Year’s Day Swim shirt as well as the financial support we receive from - Saundersfoot Harbour, Hean Castle Estate and Saundersfoot Community Council,” he continued.

“As well as providing a spectacle for the community, the main driving force for hosting the swim is to provide people with an opportunity to raise money for worthwhile causes.

“To ensure that the mandatory costs for staging the swim are met, as well as to safeguard it’s future, we have made the difficult decision to implement a £5 entry fee for each adult swimmer and £3 for a child (Under 16 years),” he explained.

“In order to safeguard the future of the swim, we sincerely hope that everybody embraces the new changes and understands that this great community event can no longer be staged without an income stream.

“We are committed to making sure this swim is going in another 39 years but to get there we have to make some difficult decisions.

“Around the country many charity events have folded and Saundersfoot itself has lost key events from its calendar.

“My role as Chair of the Swim committee is to make sure that this event goes from strength to strength with even more money going to local charities who continue to support us year on year,” he added.

Entry to the swim will now be made by entering online via – or visiting in person the New Year’s Day Swim ‘Registration Hut’ which will be located to the side of The Spar Store in Saundersfoot, which will be in place from December 28.

Saundersfoot swim
(Pic. Gareth Davies Photography)

Sponsor forms will be sent out to swimmers who’ve entered online or they can be collected in person from the ‘Hut’ or, Salt on The Strand, who have kindly offered to help organisers.

Further details can be found on the NYDS website at:; the NYDS Facebook page or via email at: [email protected]

Having entered and paid the fee, a wrist band will be available at the ‘Hut ’ Salt on The Strand and a swim medal awarded to those wearing a band after entering the water.