Tow floats have become an essential piece of swimming kit this year for both regular outdoor swimmers and those being forced to explore wild water as a result of pool closures and a global pandemic.
Ultimately a tow float supports a swimmer by increasing their visibility in the water. Many open water venues and events have made tow floats compulsory in 2020, which help the safety team spot a swimmer in difficulty but also enabling swimmers to socially distance in the water. While they are not designed to be lifesaving aids, they can give a swimmer mental support and confidence in the water. They can also support your weight and offer an option to rest when in open water and out of your depth.
Purists in the outdoor swimming community don’t particularly like them, one of the joys of outdoor swimming is the freedom to do so without the need for expensive and cumbersome kit. It is also feared that a tow float can give a nervous swimmer a level of confidence that could lead to poor judgement and difficulties. However, while a tow float can ruin the wildness of a remote swim, when used correctly they can be a great aid for new and urban swimmers.
There are a range of tow floats on the market. They are designed to be inflated and then attached to a swimmer using a waist band and leash. They then float behind with minimal interference with swimming. Most commonly they are produced in florescent orange, easy to spot in bright or low light, but there are a number of colours available as well as different sizes, shapes and styles.
Due to the position of a swimmer in the water the biggest advantage of using a tow float is providing visibility to other water users, particular boats and watercraft. It also enables other swimmers to spot you if you like swimming in a group. From a safety point of view tow floats are not designed to replace or replicate lifesaving devices, however floats like the SwimSecure Tow Woggle are great for children and beginners as they can be used as an aid to swim while also increasing visibility in the water.
Our friends over at Camping With Style really rated their pink tow-float. Check out their review.