Ultimate Tips for the Polar Bear Plunge in Annapolis

For more than two decades, thousands of Maryland’s residents and visitors have marked the New Year with a splash. At the Polar Bear Plunge, participants jump into the icy waters of the Chesapeake Bay to benefit the Maryland Special Olympics. It’s certainly one of Maryland’s coolest traditions. Although nothing can prepare you for the initial shock of the chilly water, planning ahead is a great way to stay safe and organized. Whether this is your first or fifth plunge, Chesapeake Charter has prepared some tips for making the most of this memorable experience.

Pack Extra Clothing

Polar Bear Plunge feature

After your dip in the Chesapeake’s frigid waters, you won’t want to stay in your bathing suit for long. Bringing plenty of towels and quick-drying clothing will help you restore your lost body heat. During and after the event, dress with layers in mind. Materials closest to your skin should retain your body temperature and resist moisture. Additionally, bulkier outer layers should shield your body from the cutting wind of the Chesapeake.

Wearing layers will also help you acclimate to the cold before your plunge. Removing clothing one layer at a time may help reduce the shock of the water. That way you won’t be jumping from the dry warmth of your winter coat to the near-frozen temperatures of the water.

Bring a Costume

Similar to a number of other large festivities, many plungers sport a wild costume for the day. Not only does this get you into the spirit of the Polar Bear Plunge, but wearing something unique or vibrant will also help you stand out in the crowd. Should anything happen, wearing a highly visible outfit can also help friends or lifeguards locate you.

Avoid Alcohol

You might be thinking about enjoying a few beers before you jump into the water. Just remember: alcoholic beverages can decrease your body temperature significantly, to the point of danger. The cold January air, combined with the icy waters, can actually lead to hypothermia. Those who begin the event with a few drinks are even more at risk. Especially, if they have been exposed to the frigid air for an extended period of time.

Find a Meeting Spot

You likely won’t have immediate access to your phone or belongings after you leave the water, and large crowds can make locating friends quite difficult. That’s why it’s always a good idea to create a specific meeting location for gathering at the end of the event. Choose an area that’s relatively far away from the central action to avoid the exiting crowds. Trees, buildings, and tall monuments are all great landmarks you can use to help make sure everyone gets back safely.  

Arrange for Transportation

Everyone is familiar with the hassle of large event parking. From locating your car to navigating the traffic, driving adds an extra level of stress on an otherwise fun day. Fortunately, there are plenty of other transportation options available for plungers and their spectators, including shuttle services to and from the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium and Anne Arundel Community College. 

For the past several years, Chesapeake Charter has provided transportation services to and from the Polar Bear Plunge. Have a large group attending? We also provide buses for people to rent out during the day. To learn more about our transportation solutions, get in touch with us today at 1-800-304-3001.