Beginners Guide to Tow Floats

These are the most frequently asked questions when thinking about using a Tow Float when open water swimming: 

  • What is the purpose of a tow float?

The main reason is to increase your VISIBILITY from the shore and to other users of the open water. The other reasons are to give you something to support your weight if you are tired/have cramp and to provide waterproof storage.

  • How does a tow float work?

The tow float/dry bag is pulled behind you while swimming, attached via a waist belt and short leash. It floats out of range of arms and kick zone.

Here is a go to guide for how to inflate and deflate a tow float/dry bag: 

  • Do tow floats cause drag? 

It may seem counter-intuitive, but swimming with a tow float does not actually cause enough drag to be noticed. It is said the bow wave that is created by your shoulders and upper body creates an eddy behind you, which actually pushes the buoy forward, so it virtually eliminates any possibility of drag.  Also, because the short leash attachment allows the tow float to float over the bend of your knees/thighs it is out of the way of the finish of your arm stroke; and since it does not reach past the upper calves, your kick is also unaffected.

  • How do I choose a tow float? 
Which product is best for you will depend on what your intended use is when you are open water swimming.  Do you need storage? A small amount of storage or a lot of storage ie for clothes? Click on our Product Comparison page to find your your ideal tow float. 
  • How to attach the Waist Belt & Leash to a tow float? 
Here is a video for you to view on how to do this. 

  • Can you use a tow float as a buoyancy aid? 

A Tow Float/Dry Bag is not a buoyancy aid.   As a tow float/dry bag is buoyant it can be a great support when you're tired, get cramp or just want a breather.  You can then simply hug it and float along while having a chat with other members of the group or attract attention if you require help.

  • Will a tow float keep you afloat? 
As mentioned above the main reason to swim with a tow float is to increase your visibility in the water. They are not designed to be a lifesaving aid but they will support your weight if you need to stop for a rest on your swim.
If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us on  

Related Posts

From Sundown to Sunrise, and Beyond!
From Sundown to Sunrise, and Beyond!
When my local lake reopened in March, I was straight in like a flash. The water was cold, at just 7.5 degrees, so in ...
Read More
Should I Wear a Tow Float?
Should I Wear a Tow Float?
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 fl...
Read More
Training For a Swim Event in the Summer (Part 4...nearly there)
Training For a Swim Event in the Summer (Part 4...nearly there)
The countdown is on! *22 days until Windermere… where has the time gone? *22 days until we swim all 16.5 km of the U...
Read More

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published