People of all ages take the Plunge. But for those who are doing so for the first time we recommend "getting your feet wet" by using these tips in addition to the general tips we offer.
-- Plunge in front of the Atlantic Sands where it is less crowded and family-oriented.
-- There is no rule for how far you go in -- ankle-deep or all in.
-- Allow the first wave of folks to go in. This is not a race.
-- The beach will look very different coming out of the water -- and you may not be able to spot your towel. It's always good to have a towel-holder on hand to wave you to your things.
Now that you've decided to take the Plunge ...
Questions Before the Plunge
Q: Is the Plunge in Lewes or Rehoboth Beach?
A: The Lewes Polar Bear Plunge DOES take place in Rehoboth Beach. Why, you ask? The first six Plunges took place at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, but in 1998, a storm forced the event to be moved to Rehoboth Beach and it has remained there.
Q: I pre-registered. Do I need to check in at the Plunge?
A: Yes, even if you pre-registered, you need to check in onsite at the Plunge when you arrive OR at the SODE office in Newark on the Wednesday before the Plunge. Check-in schedule
Q: Do I need to turn in my pledge sheet?
A: You do not need to turn in a pledge sheet, but one is available if you would like one for your own records. Pledge sheet
Q: What is traffic like and where can I park?
A: Traffic the morning of the Plunge is like a summer holiday weekend, so plan accordingly. Parking meters are turned off for the Plunge. However, tickets are still given if you park in illegal spots like "tow away" or "handicap only" parking spaces. Just remember -- if you wouldn't park in that space in July becase you'd get a ticket, you'll also get one in February.
Q: Can I bring my dog?
A: Dogs and other pets are discouraged from being on the beach or boardwalk during Sunday's Plunge. It's for their safety and that of our Bears and spectators.
Q: Do I have to wear just my bathing suit?
A: There are no hard and fast rules as to how many layers you have to wear into the water, even though 99 percent of the Bears wear only their bathing suits. BUT (no pun intended), thongs are not allowed and you must follow all of the same Rehoboth Beach rules that you would during the summer months. This includes that alcohol or illegal drugs are not allowed on the boardwalk or beach or anywhere in public in Rehoboth Beach.
Q: Can I get a souvenir picture of all the people plunging at once?
A group photo is taken from the rooftop of the Atlantic Sands at 12:45 p.m. and will be available to be downloaded free of charge after the plunge. Make sure you wave!
Q: Is there a place most Bears go to hang out afterward?
A: The Apres Plunge Party is held at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. Bears get in for free by showing their wristband and it's $5 per person for family and friends.
Q: Are showers and/or changing rooms available?
A: Bears are welcome to shower at the Sussex Family YMCA. Just show your wristband at the door!
Q: When will I receive the incentive items I earned raising additional money?
A: Incentive items, including sweatshirts for "Day-of" registered Bears, are mailed within three months after the plunge. The exception to this is embroidered fleeces, which are special ordered from the new fall catalogues.
Q: I missed the Plunge but was registered and raised at least $75. Can I get my sweatshirt?
A: If you missed the Plunge for any reason but raised the required minimum registration fee, your sweatshirt will be mailed to you along with any incentives you reached through your fundraising efforts.
Q: I missed the Run to the Plunge, but registered and paid. Can I still get my shirt?
A: Any pre-registered participant in the Run to the Plunge who could not make the event can pick up their long-sleeve T-shirt at the Special Olympics office in Newark.
Q: Can I continue to collect more money and where should I send it?
A: Yes, you can continue to raise funds after the Plunge and all money will count toward different incentive levels. Just be sure if you send checks to the office, you note which Bear's account should get the credit (most likely yours, but sometimes a parent will send money in and want it credited toward a child). We will monitor any additions to your Firstgiving account.
Q: How long will my fundraising page stay active?
Firstgiving pages stay open for three months following the Plunge, closing on May 1.
No alcohol or tents allowed on the boardwalk or beach.
Must wear appropriate swim attire (no thongs!).
No drones allowed.