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What is an Open Water Swim Tow Float (Swim Buoy)?

What is an Open Water Swim Tow Float (Swim Buoy)?

You may have seen swimmers with these bright orange bubbles but what is an Open Water Swimming Tow Float?

Open Water Swimming is a growing sport, becoming more popular amongst lovers of swimming, the great outdoors, and well-being enthusiasts.

Essentially an open water swim tow float is a high-visibility bubble of air the swimmer tows with them and its main purpose is to help keep the swimmer safer in the water.

Bright Hi-Visibility Colours

To help ensure swimmers stay safer in the water, whether it’s the sea or lake, it’s important to be visible to other water users and identifiable by onlookers and buddies. A Swim Tow Float sometimes referred to as a Swim Buoy, helps with both of these issues.

The bright colour enables swimmers to be much more visible to others, tow floats tend to be Hi-Vis orange, yellow or bright pink.

The buoyancy of the swim float also provides a useful grab aid for the swimmer when taking a rest for example, to adjust goggles, whilst treating cramp, or simply admire the view.

Drybag Tow Floats

What’s more, many swim floats, provide a storage compartment to enable the swimmer to take small items with them such as phones, keys, snacks etc. These tow floats are referred to as Drybag floats, the larger the capacity of the drybag float the higher the buoyancy when fully inflated, and the more items the swimmer can take with them. For example, The 28L R28 Drybag Tow Float can fit more items than the 20L R20 Drybag Float.

Showing possible contents of your drybag tow float

Drybag Contents

Rucksack Tow Floats

Rucksack Tow Floats are a combination of rucksack and drybag float and can be used to carry swim gear while walking and then transformed into a hi-vis tow float on the shore to stash the swimmers’ clothes in while they continue their journey in the water.

Minimal Drag

The Swim tow float itself provides little drag and takes up little space, they are easy to deflate/ inflate. Drybag floats can also be used as a storage bag to transport wet kit after a swim.
Swim Tow Floats and Drybags are simple to use; most designs inflate using the mouthpiece valve and clip the waist strap around the waist. The waist strap attaches to the float via a short, and usually adjustable leash, the float simply bobs along on the surface, about level with the swimmers’ thighs.


Eco-Friendly Tow Floats and Drybags

Puffin swim floats made with recycled plastic

Puffin Swim is the industry leader in eco-friendly and recycled tow floats. Sustainability has been one of our core values since we launched in Spring 2018.

Choose from floats in the Puffin Swim Recycled range made from recycled single-use plastic:

Choose from floats in our Eco-friendly range made with biodegradable TPU and recycled single-use plastic:

We have a useful guide to help you choose the right tow float; Which Tow Float Do I Need? helps you pick your tow float so you can look forward to some safer outdoor swimming.

Related Articles:

How to Choose the Right Tow Float for You

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