This is a question that I am asked as a coach all the time. And for me, the answer is really easy. Yes, wear a tow float for every single swim and with no questions asked.
However, there has been a worrying trend lately of wild swimmers who prefer not to wear a tow float, claiming that they are not part of the nature and history of true wild swimming. Granted, that much may be true but that’s only because open water swimming has evolved since then and people are more aware of the risks and hazards. Making wild swimming safer has been made possible by companies like Swim Secure with the wide range of tow floats that they make available to open water swimmers.
As a coach, I cannot emphasis enough the importance of wearing a tow float every time you swim in the open water. It is compulsory to wear one when you swim with me in any of my sessions, whether that be at an organised lake, river or the sea. I also emphasise the benefits of wearing a tow float as part of my introduction to open water theory classes so that any new open water swimmers have this information shared with them. This hopefully prevents anyone being misled by what is more often than not well-meaning but potentially unsafe advice found over the internet. Ask yourself this, do you really want to go into the open water without attaching something around your waist that could potentially save your own life?
Open water by it’s very nature is never without risks. As swimmers we need to make ourselves as visible as possible to both other water users (kayaks, sup, canoes, boats etc) as well as bystanders and spotters on shore. Swim without a tow float and you would be surprised how difficult a swimmer becomes to spot.
Aside from making you visible in the water, tow floats can be used for a wide range of other things. Need to store something safe whilst you swim? Use a tow float. Need to take a rest? Use a tow float. Need to take a drink or gels with you on a long swim? Use a tow float. The Swim Secure range covers every requirement. I also advise all of my swimmers to put any important medical information and their emergency contact details inside their tow floats on a laminated piece of card or paper or written on the side with a permanent marker pen.
My personal favourite is the Tow Donut as the waterproof pocket stores my glasses and car keys and I’ve even managed to squeeze a pair of crocs into it too for the walk back along the river once! I have a Swim Secure whistle and GoPro attached to the waist belt and it’s so versatile I’ve even stored a noodle through it and a kickboard in lessons and its also my portable pillow for laying my head on whilst I sunbathe in between summer lessons too (it’s amazing what you can do if you think about it!)
So this year I am absolutely delighted to have joined the Swim Secure team as one of their stockists so I can continue to make open water swimming safe for all.
Written by Vicky from Swimspirational Open Water Swimming