Video reveals nail-biting near-miss between swimmers and a cargo ship in San Francisco Bay

Cargo Container Ship & Alcatraz Prison
Stock image of cargo container ship and Alcatraz (Image credit: ericimages / Getty Images)

A group of open water swimmers in San Francisco Bay had a close call with a cargo container ship, in an incident currently being investigated by the United States Coast Guard.

The hair-raising moment when the ship went rogue – apparently ignoring the right of way for an officially authorized swim – was caught on camera, and you can watch the video below, courtesy of KRON4.

Members of the Odyssey Open Waters Swimming club were on an organized swim from San Francisco to Alcatraz when the cargo ship appeared and cut through their path.

If you watch the video carefully, you can see at least one swimmer was left terrifyingly close to the ship’s bow while the others were still way too close for comfort.

“We’ve got to have Coast Guard, or somebody check back there by the boat because there might have been swimmers that might have been swept into it,” says an unidentified voice in the video.

Coast Guard vessels were deployed, but thankfully no one sustained any injuries. All the swimmers completed the scheduled event and reached the shore unharmed.

Odyssey Open Water Swimming claim the swim had been granted a permit approximately a year in advance.

“We are currently awaiting a response on the incident and are thankful for the assistance of the USCG,” said Odyssey member Warran Wallace. “Large commercial vessels merging into our planned path is not a normal occurrence.”

Open water swimming – or wild swimming – is an exhilarating experience but you need to be fully aware of the potential dangers and be constantly alert for unexpected threats. We have plenty of expert tips for staying safe in – or on – open water in this article, but the most important piece of advice of all is never to go open swimming on your own – always buddy up.