Royal Navy divers ready for Portsea Island swim

Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson. Pictute: LPhot Ioan Roberts

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SEVEN Royal Navy divers have been hard at work training for a gruelling 13-mile swim around Portsea Island.

The swimmers are from the Royal Navy Minewarfare and Clearance Diving Branches and will carry out their charity challenge on July 30.

It is being held to raise money for local Portsmouth charity Cystic Fibrosis Kids of Portsmouth, the Project Vernon Monument fund and charities which support the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

Starting from Eastney beach at 9.30am they will swim north alongside the Eastern Road, round past the Royal Navy HQ on Whale Island, down past the Naval Base and Gunwharf Quays, before returning to Eastney.

The team is aiming to complete the swim within seven hours.

Lieutenant Commander Richard Watson said: ‘We are all very much looking forward to the challenge. We have trained hard for the swim and having Horsea Island on our doorstep has made it easier to train. Twenty-two lengths of Horsea lake is the same as swimming round Portsea Island. The biggest challenge will be the weather.

‘If we get south west winds on the day, then our swim along Southsea seafront will be interesting to say the least.’

In support will be volunteers in kayaks, who in turn will be assisted by power boats, with medically-trained personnel on board.

The team has set up a website for public donations at justgiving.com/royal-navy-clearance-diver-and-friends-portsea-island-swim.