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Best tow floats for cold water swimming

cold water swimmers

If you are new to cold water swimming or looking for increased safety in the water, then a simple tow float is a prime piece of equipment for you to consider. 

Tow floats come in many shapes, sizes, and colours, offering additional functions like dry bags and whistles for open water swimming. 

We have taken the time to review the best tow floats in the UK market. So, let’s dive in!

Continue reading our informative article to find today’s best tow floats for cold water swimming.

What is a tow float?

A tow float is a buoyant device that provides swimmers with improved safety and flotation in open waters, much like a swimming float or pool noodle may do. 

Often available in bright colours, one of the main purposes of a tow float is to provide the cold water swimmer with increased visibility. 

Many tow floats have extra features, such as storage compartments, hydration flasks, and side handles. You can even find swim floats with lights for night swimming.

The tow float allows swimmers to lean onto the flotation device should they need to take a break or rest while still in the open waters. 

Why is a tow float important for cold water swimming?

A swimming tow float is an important piece of equipment for cold water swimmers as it increases buoyancy and visibility and helps swimmers preserve their energy. 

Due to the buoyancy, should the swimmer need to catch their breath, they can put weight onto the swimming floats. This can be life-saving if swimmers face issues where they are struggling to swim or keep their heads above the water.

Swim tow floats are particularly important if you want to go for a wild swim without an insulating neoprene wetsuit. You may be more susceptible to the extremities of the wintery environment and have less buoyancy. 

Another feature is visibility. Visibility is crucial when swimming in wild waters; if an emergency should occur, you are easy to find and help with bright tow floats.  

The best tow floats for cold water swimming

Now you know the importance of a tow float for cold water swimming; you should consider purchasing one before your next swim. 

We have tested and ranked the top 8 tow floats on the UK market.

Keep reading to find the perfect swimming tow float for you!

Dippy WILD Swimming Float

Dippy WILD Swimming Float

Up first, the Dippy Wild Swimming Float! Perfect for triathletes and open water swimmers, the medium-sized safety buoy comes in two vibrant colours; orange and pink. 

The bright colour options ensure you will be highly visible to boats and other water users in the open water. You can easily be located should you need assistance. 

Novices or professionals can use the sea swimming float. It doesn’t matter what level you are at; the Dippy Wild tow will give you additional safety in open waters.

Made from Premium PVC nylon, which is damage resistant, this safety buoy should last you a lifetime, provided you treat it with care.

Dippy Wild Features

  • Single value and chambers to create buoyancy.
  • Easy grip handles to keep hold of float in deep water. 
  • Adjustable strap to fit all sizes and security clip.
  • £22.

Dippy Tow Floats for Open Water Swimming

Dippy Tow Floats for Open Water Swimming

The colourful Dippy tow float is serious equipment for serious athletes. You will boldly stand out in even murky waters in three colours – green, red and pink. 

Tested in Scotland water, the Dippy buoy is resistant to wear and tear, as it’s made from sturdy PVC nylon, which is hard to puncture. 

With a built-in dry bag, you can take your valuables into the water with you and won’t have to leave them ashore and unprotected. 

This particular open water tow float comes with a range of additional features, but its main benefit is the dual chamber function which provides extra security. 

The buoy is extremely lightweight and drag-free, so you don’t need to worry about the swimming tow float slowing you down, even if you are in a triathlon or paddle boarding competition.

Dippy Tow Float Features

  • Internal dry bag to keep valuables protected and safe..
  • Built-in whistle to attract attention in emergencies. 
  • Easy grip handle and adjustable waist belt. 
  • £30-35.

Garberiel 20L Swim Buoy

Garberiel 20L Swim Buoy

The 20 L swim buoy from Garberiel is the perfect partner for anyone looking to engage in activities in open waters.

Open waters can be dangerous; having a high-quality, bright tow is essential. Garberiel’s tow is ideal as it comes in vibrant pink and yellow. 

The medium-sized swim float is non-toxic and environmentally friendly, so you can protect nature and yourself. 

Nylon is a friction-resistant material, and it is hard to rip. To inflate the safety buoy, you must blow into the mouthpiece. To deflate, push all the air out and roll it up into a small bag.

Garberiel 20L Swim Buoy Features

  • Built-in inflation nozzle for quick inflation and deflation.
  • Dry storage compartment – waterproof to protect valuables.
  • High-quality PVC that is tear and friction-resistant.
  • £13.

WholeFire 20L Swim Buoy

WholeFire 20L Swim Buoy

The WholeFire 20L swim buoy is a best-seller, and it’s no surprise, as this swimming tow float has all you need.

Nylon PVC is perfect for Winter swims, as the material doesn’t go hard in the cold waters. We highly recommend finding a nylon tow if you decide to browse yourself. 

You will always be visible in the open water, as the dry bag tow float comes in yellow, pink, and bright orange. Visibility is particularly important if swimming in waters with high boat traffic. 

You can wear this swim buoy around your waist if you are swimming, surfing, or sailing. If you are a lover of all outdoor aquatic sports, a dry bag tow float is an indispensable piece of equipment. 

WholeFire 20L Swim Buoy

  • Adjustable removal belt that fits a range of measurements.
  • Waterproof storage compartment to store valuables, such as car keys. 
  • Premium, non-toxic PVC for use all year round. 
  • £16.

Jodsen Tow Float

Jodsen Tow Float

Jodson has created a 20L buoy for open water sports, and it even comes with a waterproof phone case!

The waterproof case allows you to take your phone in the open water. You can take photos, record your swim times, and call for help if you are alone. 

A swim bubble follows as you swim, but its drag-resistant properties ensure it won’t pull you back or get in the way. You can rest on the bubble should you need a brief breather when swimming longer distances.

Choose between vibrant yellow, pink, and orange! The tow float dry bag is clear so you can take pictures and view messages on your phone.

Jodsen Tow Float Features

  • High-quality eco-friendly PVC material.
  • Adjustable waist belt with a buckle strap. 
  • Waterproof storage box adjacent to the inflatable air chamber.
  • £14.

HUT Swim Float

HUT Swim Float

The HUT swim float is ideal for triathlon training and wild swimming and is made from a sturdy and strong PVC material. 

HUT have thoroughly tested their swim float in the difficult lakes of the Atlantic, the cold waters of Snowdonia, and other sea-based swimrun races. 

The lightweight tow float tugs behind you discreetly and with no drag. You can be timed or spotted without any impact on your speed or performance.

HUT’s tow float comes in three different intense colours; you will never go amiss in even the darkest and murkiest waters. 

HUT Swim Float Features

  • A fully adjustable waist belt allows for up to 48 inches.
  • 2-way valve for easy inflation and deflation of buoyancy aid.
  • Lightweight and durable to survive harsh weather.
  • £20.

Ultimate Floats Pink Swim Buoy

Ultimate Floats Pink Swim Buoy

Ultimate’s premium professional tow float is made from 190T nylon and has 28 L storage. 

The swim buoy has an external waterproof case to store your phone, emergency contact, personal details, and other important belongings.

With dual chambers, the tow float holds air on both sides, so you can rest assured should one deflate, you will still have the floatation device’s support if needed. 

The Ultimate float comes with a swivel buckle that prevents entanglement or twisting of the swim tow float. 

Like all the other swim buoys on this top 8 list, Ultimate’s tow float comes in a range of eye-catching colours to ensure you remain visible in the open water. 

Ultimate Floats Swim Buoy Features

  • Swivel on the waist strap to avoid tangling.
  • External pocket dry bag to carry snacks and your sports drink for longer swims. 
  • Dual air chambers to maintain buoyancy in case one is punctured.
  • £26-31.

MARA Outdoors Premium Swim Buoy

MARA Outdoors Premium Swim Buoy

Mara Outdoors premium swims buoy, and the dry bag comes in 20L and 28L. Its colour and size ranges make it suitable for any age or measurement.

Fitted with two handles rather than one, this swimming float gives you extra stability and security in the water should you need to catch your breath or rest. 

This tow has two inflation chambers that will keep you perfectly buoyant even in uncalm waters, perfect for paddleboarding, kayaking, or longer swims. 

There is even space in the dry bags to fit a hydration bladder. You can use a hydration bladder to keep you hydrated if you swim in the sea. 

The green coloured bag will provide you with high visibility as you submerge into cold waters, so other swimmers and water users can spot you. 

MARA Outdoor Swim Buoy Features

  • Waterproof dry bag compartment and dual chambers.
  • One-way valve for easy and fast inflation
  • Tested in the challenging lakes of Northern England, the Welsh and Scottish coast.
  • £20.


What features to consider when buying swim tow floats

You should consider the following factors when buying a swim tow float:

  • Material.
  • Carefully selected companies.
  • Size.
  • Visibility and colour range.
  • Price.
  • Additional features, such as a dry bag. 
  • Testing. 

Is a tow float the same as a swim buoy?

A tow float and a swim buoy are essentially the same things. 

Open water swimmers use swim tow floats and buoys to maintain visibility while they swim and to provide extra buoyancy and support in the water. 

If you are looking for an open water swimming adventure but want to maintain safety, then a tow float with rucksack straps is important. 

Whether you want to swim in a lake or the sea, the inflated buoy will keep you visible even in low-light conditions. 

How do you use a tow float?

You can use your tow float as follows:

  1. Inflate your swimming tow float using the inflation device, usually a 2-way valve or blow hole. 
  2. Adjust the belt to fit your waist measurements snugly.
  3. Securely clip your tow float closed via the provided waist strap.
  4. Check other security measures, such as if your dry bag is sealed.

What size swim buoy do I need?

On average, a 15L buoy is suitable for swimmers that are 190lb or lower. Anybody over 190lb would benefit from additional security with a buoy that is 20L or 28L.

You can choose your preferred size; however, we always recommend picking a larger float with extra weight for maximum protection in a cold environment. 

In extreme conditions, accidents can happen without the proper equipment and safety measures. 

Please consider purchasing a quality wetsuit and tow float before you take a dip in open waters.

What is the best colour for a swim buoy?

The best colour for swim buoys includes fluorescent pink, yellow, orange, or green. These colours are popular because they allow onlookers, trainers, and boats to locate you in the water. 

Visibility is crucial, so picking a brightly coloured float is important for your safety.


That’s our list of the top eight tow floats available for all winter swimmers. 

The buoys will support any open water sportsman, whether you need one for kayaking, swimming, jet skis, boating, or more; we have you covered. 

Tow floats have many additional features for open water swimming, such as a dry bag, whistle, rucksack straps, shoulder straps and grab handles. 

We highly recommend a float, buoy, and premium neoprene wetsuit as your essential equipment for any open water swimming. 

The importance of a wetsuit is undeniable, so find our tips on maintaining your wetsuit. You can even check out our list of the top ten best-wet suits.