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Polar bear plunge

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Title: Polar bear plunge  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Annual events in Boston, Open water swimming, Doug Suttles, New Year Sprint, Philanthropy
Collection: Open Water Swimming, Philanthropy, Swimming, Winter Traditions
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Polar bear plunge

Participants in the water during a polar bear plunge. Note the ice on the water.

A polar bear plunge is an event held during the winter where participants enter a body of water despite the low temperature. In the United States polar bear plunges are usually held to raise money for a

  • segment on Polar Bear Dipping in CanadaThe Rick Mercer ReportWatch
  • Watch Video from 2013 Polar Bear Plunge in Lake George, NY

External links

Further reading

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See also

Every Super Bowl Sunday, Long Beach, New York hosts one of the largest in the US. Since 1998 thousands of people have flocked to the beaches of Long Beach to jump into the ocean on Super Bowl Sunday. All proceeds are donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.[25]

The Plungapalooza event in Maryland, the largest polar bear plunge in the United States, held annually at Sandy Point State Park, raises funds for the Special Olympics.[23] Sponsored by the Maryland State Police, in 2007, Plungapalooza raised $2.2 million and had 7,400 participants.[24] In 2008, an estimated 12,000 people participated.[23]

Plunges are now held across the United States. Annual events are held in Seattle (since 1993), Evergreen, Colorado [15] New York's [20]

Two women prepare to enter the water in Milwaukee.

United States

An annual "Loony Dook" takes place in South Queensferry, Scotland on New Years Day. Several thousand attend the event with over one thousand taking the plunge.[14] Participants regularly dress up for the occasion and will usually parade through the local town acting like "loonies" proceeding the "dook". Aside from the regular enthusiasts, most are still inebriated from New Year's Eve celebrations and have more than likely lost a bet.

United Kingdom

Every New Year's Day around 10,000 people dive collectively into the icy cold sea water at Scheveningen, The Netherlands' main beach resort town since 1960. In 89 locations on beaches and in lakes all over the country, each year around 30,000 people participate in this "Nieuwjaarsduik" (English: New Year's dive), with a record 36,000 participants on January 1, 2012. Since 1998 Unox, a Unilever food brand often associated with winter, adopted the Nieuwjaarsduik and ever since it is tradition to wear Unox branded winter caps and gloves.[12][13]

The Nieuwjaarsduik in Scheveningen (2010)

The Netherlands

Other locations include Bowen Island, BC,[6] Edmonton, AB, Calgary, AB, Ottawa, ON, Oakville, ON,[7] Toronto, ON,[8] Perth, ON,[9] Clarington, ON,[10] Sarnia, ON,[11] Montreal, QC, North Hatley, QC, Halifax, NS, Prince Edward Island, and St. John's, NL. In Yellowknife, NWT, the "Freezin for a Reason" plunge is held in March after the spring thaw.

In Canada, "Polar Bear Swims", "plunges" or "dips" are a New Year's Day tradition in numerous communities across the country.[1][2][3] Vancouver, BC's annual Polar Bear Swim Club has been active since 1920 and typically has 1,000 to 2,000 registered participants, with a record 2,128 plunging into English Bay in 2000. Registration is not enforced and the actual number of swimmers may be significantly higher. Estimates of the number of observers are typically up to 10,000.[4] Suburban White Rock, BC's was founded in 1958, and other suburbs including Port Moody and North Vancouver also hold swims.[5]


  • Canada 1
  • The Netherlands 2
  • United Kingdom 3
  • United States 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8


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