What is a tow float? – and why you need one

Tow Float

In recent times, tow floats have become an essential bit of kit for outdoor swimmers. Indeed, with the easing of lockdown, they are mandatory at many open water swimming venues. And when we return to events, they are also required for some races.

The basic premise of a tow float is to increase your visibility in the water. They are not designed to be lifesaving aids, although they will support your weight if you need to stop for a rest on your swim.

Whether you are swimming solo or in a group, the brightly coloured buoys will also make you more visible to other water users. They can be used to warn boats, anglers, jet bikes, paddle boarders, kayaks, swimmers and other water users where you are.

Tow floats are blown up and then attached using a waist band and leash. They float behind you with minimal interference to your swimming.

They can also act as a dry bag while swimming, which means you can take your kit with you and not have to worry about it being stolen. In addition, it makes it easier to start swimming in one place and finish in another if you can take your kit with you.


Read more about tow floats:

The best tow floats 2021

Alternative uses for a tow float

01 Cover May

Issue 49 May 2021

  • How weather can affect your swim
  • How to train for your first open water mile
  • Where to swim in the Lake District
  • How pioneer women swimmers not only took on men in the open water but also campaigned for the vote
  • Training sessions to ease you back into the pool

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