North Fork Polar Bears to host ‘Splash for CAST’ in East Marion

At 10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 29, at Truman’s Beach in East Marion, the North Fork Polar Bears and anyone wanting to join them will plunge into the chilly winter water — no matter the weather — all for a good cause.

The North Fork Polar Bears are a group of over 80 members who participate in daily and weekly cold-water swims around the North Fork. Known for its wide array of health benefits, polar swimming is a popular practice around the world and the group says that these swims benefit the mind, body and spirit.

“For a lot of members, including myself, this started as a pandemic activity,” said North Fork Polar Bears member Meg McGinnis. “In the past year, our group has grown so much, both in numbers and as a tight-knit community. For this reason, we wanted to do something to give back to our larger North Fork community.”

This event will raise funds for CAST. The organization, formerly Community Action Southold Town, has helped lower-income individuals meet their basic needs in Southold since 1965 and has recently expanded to Shelter Island.

“CAST is a great organization and they do so much for those in need, a mission that all of the North Fork Polar Bears want to support,” McGinnis said. “We hope others will want to support the important work they do too — and participating in a charity event might just be the push they need if they’ve wanted to give cold water swimming a try but haven’t made the plunge yet.”

According to CAST’s mission statement, they aim to “promote self-sufficiency and provide a safety net for residents in need.” Tod Hart, a North Fork Polar Bear and longtime CAST supporter, originally proposed the idea.

“As the number of people seeking assistance continues to grow in our community, we are grateful to the North Fork Polar Bears,” said CAST executive director Cathy Demeroto. “We are happy to collaborate with such a great group of people who want to have some fun while giving back to their community.”

The Polar Bears encourage anyone to take part, no matter their experience with cold-water swimming. Registration levels are $25, $50 and $125 with differing incentives, such as T-shirts, hoodies and free drinks or ice cream. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Afterward those who participate can warm up with, hot cocoa, coffee, and fire pits.

For more information or to register, sponsor or donate, visit