On January 1st, 2023, I did something that many people would consider insane! I braved the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean by swimming with the Coney Island Polar Bear Club. Which was an all-around fantastic experience!
The Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge is a Free event. However, donations are encouraged. And there is merchandise for sale. But bring cash or your credit card if you want a wearable souvenir to commemorate the Plunge because Apple Pay is not accepted.
Pre-registration closes at midnight on January 1st, but you can still register in person on the day of the Plunge like I did.
Registration opens at 10 am, the Plunge begins at 11 am, and you have until 2 pm to take the final Plunge.
I started my day around 9 am to get a feel for everything because I was nervous about this event. But it turned out that I was worried for no reason! Everyone that I met at this Plunge was very friendly. There were official Polar Bears, veteran plungers, and first-timers like myself. All ages and all races. There were even some pets.
And everything happens quickly.
There’s one entryway to the beach for the Plunge, and it’s barricaded close until 11 am. A live DJ is present to keep you posted on what’s happening, and a marching band to get you pumped for the Plunge.
Anticipation grows as the DJ announces that there is only 10 min left until Plunge time. And once the barricade is opened, it’s off to the water. You can run, walk, or crawl into the shore. There are no rules on how to get down to the ocean. You can plunge once or repeatedly until 2 pm.
The Plunge was sensational! Freezing but very much worth it, and a beautiful start to the new year. I’m even considering doing it again next year!
- Take off one piece of clothing before the plunge so your body can acclimate to the temperature
- Bring towels, old shoes, and warm clothes to change into afterwards.
- Put your stuff/bag somewhere you can easily spot it once you’re out of the water. I.e by the boardwalk railing, lifeguard chair, etc.