Tow float or not

Hi all
Have any of you seen any official documentation around open water swimming (OWS) and tow floats?
I have an insurance company that has added as part of their wording “When swimming you will wear high visibility swimming cap and tow float”.

Which I get and as sea swimmers I wear one most of the time thanks to jet skis…. But sometimes the conditions say no, like overly windy, rough or large swell… which I know will put some off but for some those conditions are fine, also in the wording “Each swimmer taking part must also carry out their own personal dynamic risk assessment on the day of their swim. They must be confident that their competence is sufficient for their swim.”

We swim in the sea every day it’s not an event or payed for but it could be considered a club organised event so obvs we need to be covered.

So the sticking point is the requirement of tow floats at all times. I can’t find anything on the BTF, Swim England, FINA, SH2OUT that would give guidance. There is lots saying “Useful Kit” but they are generally the makers or sponsored clubs stating this…

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Is this personal insurance for training and events?

That’s probably when i want one…

Seems reasonable…

No it’s for a club, most times members organise themselves so no liability on the club but occasionally the club organise group swims.


A tow float helps them find the corpse and that’s it. Bowing down to these assholes is tantamount to voting UKIP. Fuck them. Swim somewhere else like the free citizen of Britain you are. Or indefinite leave to remainer.

And fuck anyone who advocates hi Viz while we’re here.

It’s a tricky one isn’t it. I was swimming across a lagoon in Greece and was missed by a boat by about 6 ft, which obv was quite alarming, and I suddenly thought, wouldn’t it be useful to be a bit more visible in the water. I’d never really thought about that before. So it’s useful to be given these prompts.

However I do agree with you, because the risk of such an accident is small, so like cycling and helmets it’s best to prompt the individual to think about it in terms of their own safety, but don’t make it mandatory. Since as a whole, we want to encourage cycling and swimming for the net benefit in health, mental wellbeing etc surely. This is basically Chris Boardman’s rationale for fiercely advocating against making helmets mandatory.


I wanted to swim across to an island last week, and binned it off about 100m in because decided it was too wavey and didn’t know how visible I’d be if boats came through the channel, and did think I wish I had my float with me.
But I never normally wear one swimming up and down the coast, or in a lake.

Whether they’re actually of major benefit, or needed might be debatable. But (unfortunately) it’s understandable that an insurance company will want to see you took all precautions yourself to minimise their risk.

@joex, stop sitting on the fence and tell us what you really think.



I’m on one of the rant threads practically everyday now, always ready to entertain :slight_smile: heading there now…

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