Tow Floats: What Are They and How Does One Use Them?

You may have noticed wild swimmers dragging a fluorescent orange or pink sack behind them. That is a tow float, and we will talk about how to use it and why it's essential below.

What is a Tow Float?

Simply put, a tow float is a waterproof bag that's been filled with air to give it buoyancy. The bag is then tied to the swimmer's waist by a strap and floats behind them as they strike off.

How Do You Use a Tow Float?

The primary use of a tow float is to provide safety and visibility on the water by alerting boats, anglers, jet skis, paddleboarders, kayakers, swimmers, and other water users to your location. The dry bag feature allows you to take your gear with you without fear of theft while swimming. Besides, taking your equipment with you makes it easier to start swimming in one location and end in another.

However, they are more than that. Here are a few less apparent applications you might not know:

1. For Hiking

Tow floats don’t always have to be used in the water. Why not use your dry bag when hiking or doing any other activity where you need to keep your clothes dry? When deflated, you can still use it as a dry bag.

2. As a Car Pillow

You can use tow floats as an available car pillow when driving to the lake early in the morning. In that way, you will arrive feeling refreshed and ready to jump right into the water.

3. As a Beach Seat

Some swimmers use their tow floats as seats on the sand when they have picnics after a long swim on the sea swim day. You can try that with your group, too.

4. As a Snack and Water Holder

Some swimming tow floats come with a built-in container for a bottle and space for snacks, allowing swimmers to stay fueled while swimming. Because you can't feel your sweat when you are in the water, it’s important to stay hydrated. A tow float ensures you always have water, energy bars, gels, or even a banana within reach.

Why Is Using a Tow Float for Open Water Swimming a Good Idea?

There are several advantages to using a tow float when swimming in open water.

1. Visibility

It can be difficult for other water users and craft, such as dinghies or powerboats, to see you until the very last moment while you're in the water, especially in choppy waves. While we always recommend wearing a bright swim hat, a tow float adds a crucial layer of visibility and allows you to readily see your other swimmers if you're in a group.

2. Encouragement

Because a tow float is buoyant, it may be terrific support when you're tired, cramped, or need a break. Hug it and float along while chatting with other members of the party.

3. Quick Access to Emergency Services

A tow float can also serve as a waterproof case for your phone, allowing you to call for help instead of relying on waving or shouting for assistance from the shore.

4. Readily Available Essentials

If you're performing a one-way swim, a tow float comes in handy because it allows you to conceal your clothes and belongings safely.

Are You Looking to Buy a Tow Float?

While one primarily uses a tow float for safety, they have many other applications that can enhance your open water experiences, making them a priceless piece of swimming gear.

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