Whether you enjoy recreational swimming, competitive swimming, or are new to open water swimming, using a tow float is important for your safety. Not only will it make you more visible in the water to surrounding watercraft and rescue teams, but it can also provide some buoyancy support in emergencies (although that is not the main purpose of tow floats).
So you’ve decided you want to buy a tow float. But which one do you choose? There are so many floats available with different features and accessories. Read on to find out more about two of the top tow floats on the market and make an informed decision about which is the best one for you.
Zone3 was created for triathletes who want to smash their goals and beat their best race speeds. Designed with competitive cycling, running, and swimming in mind, Zone3 developed their wide range of products from tri-suits and wet suits to accessories like shoe laces and the all important tow floats.
Made from heavy duty PVC coated nylon, the Zone3 tow float is durable, waterproof and lightweight. Causing little to no drag in the water, this tow float is perfect for competitive open water swimming as the float won’t affect your swim speed. Visibility in the water also won’t be an issue with this tow float due to the bright colour options of lime green, orange, and pink. This float also has an adjustable waist belt to fit swimmers of different sizes, as well as having a carry handle which makes it easy to transport in and out of the water.
One thing to consider when deciding on a tow float is what kind of open water swimming you’re going to be doing. The Zone3 tow float is made for triathletes and competitive open water swimmers. If this is the type of open water swimming you regularly partake in, the Zone3 tow float might be a good option for you. However, if you prefer recreational swimming or are a new open water swimmer, other tow floats might be a better option for you.
The main disadvantage of the Zone3 tow float is that it is only made of one layer of nylon and it only has one inflation chamber. This means that if your tow float gets a puncture, either on your swim or if you haven’t discovered the puncture before you get in the water, your float will fully deflate. This would make the tow float pointless and could be dangerous as you would need to carry the deflated tow float while trying to swim back to land.
Another issue with the Zone3 tow float is that it has an adjustable leash. Although at first you may think this is a benefit, it will actually cause you more trouble than it’s worth. On your first swim with the float, you would need to adjust the leash length to get it in the right place out of the way of your arms and feet. This process could take a while with regular stops to adjust the length until you get it right. You may think that this would just be an issue for your first swim but that is not the case. When you transport the float and with regular use in the water, the adjustment buckle can loosen, changing the length of the leash. This means that you will need to adjust and tighten the leash to find the right length again, over and over again which is not just annoying but also time consuming.
Best Alternative to Zone 3
Swim Secure was created with the aim of making open water swimming safer and more enjoyable for competent swimmers of any age and any ability including recreational, competitive, and new open water swimmers. Their products range from tow floats and dry bags to open water swimming accessories like goggles, swim caps, whistles, and towels.
All the basic features that the Zone3 tow float has, the Swim Secure tow float also has. This includes an adjustable waist belt to fit people of different sizes and a lightweight design so that the float has little to no drag in the water. The Swim Secure tow float is also made from high quality, durable, strong, and waterproof PVC material, ideal for open water swimming.
However, Swim Secure goes beyond the basic needs of a tow float. Unlike the Zone3 tow float, Swim Secure has two air chambers. This gives you an extra layer of protection as if your float suffers a puncture, only one air chamber will deflate. The other air chamber will keep your float buoyant, ensuring you stay visible in the water and you don’t have to struggle to carry a deflated float while trying to swim back to land.
You may be thinking that two air chambers means double the time to inflate the Swim Secure float compared to the Zone3 float, but it only takes a couple of extra seconds and is worth it for the safety benefits. The valves on the Swim Secure tow float are one way inflation valves which makes the float really easy to inflate and deflate.
With the Swim Secure tow float you also don’t need to waste time constantly adjusting the leash length. Instead, the non-adjustable leash is designed so that the tow float floats in the ideal place above your knees throughout your swim, out of the way of your arm strokes and kicking legs. So you can just spend your time enjoying your swim.
So which is best for you?
Both the Zone3 and the Swim Secure tow float would somewhat increase your safety in the water. However, the Swim Secure tow float has a couple of extra important safety features that make it the better choice. The Swim Secure tow float is also 50p cheaper at £22 compared to the Zone3 £22.50. You may as well save that 50p and get a tow float that has the extra features needed to make you as safe as possible in the water.
Get your Swim Secure tow float here and enjoy your next open water swim with the peace of mind that you are visible in the water.