I have never been entirely convinced about the need for any sort of swimming tow float. In part that was because I was apprehensive about having something towing along between my legs and partly because I could not imagine what I would so desperately need to take along when swimming. Other people talk about phones, water bottles or car keys. Then again my approach to the security of personal possessions is haphazard. I either spread my stuff out and leave it on the presumption that someone might pick up a bag but they are unlikely to pack it first and will assume there are no valuables or I tuck my car keys into a nook in a wall, behind a bush or even just under a stone. It is a game of chance however the places I swim are not high crime.
The other aspect of a tow float is of course simply to be seen and that for me is something of a double edged sword. Again whilst the places I often swim are more ‘obscure’ and therefore exempt from the jet skies and pleasure boats that have become a plague in recent years, that obscurity does mean that any boat that may pass by is unlikely to be keeping a lookout for a swimmer. However there have been several near misses with jet skis for other swimmers even on ‘swimming’ beaches this year. Furthermore, as more swimmers use brightly visible floats, those without have become almost invisible.
Enter on the scene the Swimsecure combined dry bag and tow float. Taking it from the package I had to reach for sunglasses, the pink colour is beyond bright, it is stellar. No-one could possibly miss it, and the pink colour distinguishes it clearly from the many lobster pot floats, it’s a clear statement ‘Swimmer Over Here!’. My first impression is also that the material is very high quality and this has been made to do its job in all the conditions a person could reasonably swim in. In addition the inner can readily be washed clean.
The capacity is 18 litres though that probably reduces to about half with the neck rolled down. Even so there is room enough for a towel, car keys, phone, a pair of shoes, sunglasses and paperback, should you find you need all these.
Having put items into the bag and rolled and fastened the neck the bag is inflated by blowing into the non-return valves for the independent front and back compartments. The float is then attached through either carry handle to a short leash and looped onto the waist strap. A set of D rings fitted beside the clip where the bag top rolls down could also be used to attach the leash using the karabiner provided.
I have now had an opportunity to use the float in calm and rough conditions, still air and strong winds, swimming crawl and breast stroke. Under all these conditions the float has been all but unnoticeable whilst swimming without catching on arms or legs and offering no drag. The float rides high in the water and the contents have remained bone dry.
After use to remove the contents and pack away simply remove the non-return valves.
Whilst I cannot promise to use it for every swim the advantages are obvious and having had a couple of boat near misses myself not to use it would be foolish. However where I am really looking forward to using it will be the ability to jog to a spot swim across a bay and then jog back with dry shoes, I have plans already so roll on summer.
All I can really say in conclusion is ‘why did I not get one sooner?’.