Why use a tow float when open water swimming

Open water swimming involves, well, you guessed it - swimming in open water! Whether you’re swimming in a large lake, an estuary, or the open sea, safety is paramount and should always be prioritised. If you’re new to the world of open water swimming, you may not realise the importance of tow floats, also known as swim buoys. These safety buoys can enhance your swimming experience in numerous ways - not just the safety aspect! They can provide a level of comfort and convenience to your swims, which we explore in more detail.





A tow float is a small, brightly-coloured inflatable that is attached to a swimmer’s waist and is towed behind them whilst they swim. Its primary objective is to make swimmers more visible in the water, but why else should you use a tow float when open water swimming? Here’s why:




Tow floats can greatly increase the visibility of swimmers in open water through bright neon colours, such as yellow, pink, or orange - playing a crucial role in safety. These vivid hues stand out against the natural blues, greys, and greens of the sea and large lakes, making it easier for lifeguards, boaters, and fellow swimmers to spot a swimmer from a distance. 

The added visibility is crucial in crowded or rough waters, where a swimmer might otherwise blend into the surroundings. 

In addition to tow floats, patterned swimming wetsuits and brightly coloured swim caps further enhance a swimmer’s visibility.

Check out the Cressi Torpedo Float in neon orange for inspiration (it even comes with a little flag)!


Guide to open water swimming




Tow floats can also provide rest and support for open water swimmers. These inflatable devices are designed to be buoyant, allowing swimmers to hold onto them and take a break without having to tread water continuously. This is especially beneficial for long-distance swims or in challenging conditions.

The Zone 3 Swim Safety Buoy/Hydration Control has a built-in bladder pack for staying hydrated during longer swims - perfect when taking rest breaks. 


A group of open water swimmers




With a two-in-one tow float and dry bag, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of combining buoyancy and storage in one convenient package. Swimmers can store valuable items within the dry bag, ensuring they remain safe from water damage.

C Skins’ Swim Research 28l Buoy / Dry Bag in pink is perfect for keeping small essential items with you, such as your keys, spare swim goggles, your phone, a micro-towel, or sunscreen.


What to wear for open water swimming  




If you haven’t guessed already, tow floats provide extra buoyancy, a crucial safety feature for open water swimmers. The extra buoyancy can be a lifesaver in emergencies, providing immediate support and helping keep the swimmer’s head above water.

If you’re embarking on your open water swimming journey, or are already a regular wild swimmer, investing in a swim buoy or tow float is absolutely essential. Tow floats can add more convenience to your swims, too, especially when opting for two-in-one swim buoys/dry bags.

Want to know more or have any specific questions? Get in touch with our friendly team here at Wetsuit Centre. We’re always happy to help you further.


Tow floats and swim buoys