What about swim secure floaties?

natorronatorro Mexico CityMember

I've been watching the pictures from the last swim in Cancún, "El Cruce" and a lot of people are using the orange bags by Swim Secure, are they really incrementing security in a 10 kms swim??? is it recommended to use them???

Solo
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  • glennglenn Member

    I live in Cape town south Africa and we've been told that we have to swim with one of the devices for all swim events longer than 1.6km in the ocean

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    I boycott events that require those. In general, I believe it's a Band-Aid for event directors who don't want to invest in adequate lifeguard coverage, meaning: eyes on every swimmer, 100% of the time. Yes, that's expensive, but not as costly as having someone die at your event. A float will not save an unconscious swimmer, although it might make recovering the body faster.

    The municipality that I work for requires a 30-second response to recognize and rescue a victim in distress, whether that victim is active or passive. If a lifeguard isn't scanning his/her entire area of responsibility every 10 seconds, that standard is nearly impossible to meet.

    Brain damage begins around 2 minutes without oxygen. In open water, where extracting a victim from the water can be much more complicated and could easily take that long, the need for nearly instantaneous recognition of a problem becomes apparent.

    If you choose to boycott an event (for whatever reason) it's important to let the race director know why.

    ssthomasJaimieswimmer25kloneswimmergnome4766

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    I love it when I'm swimming in OW alone. I wear it and make sure I've got a very visible swim cap (yellow MSF or orange Speedo cap). More visibility the better. Haven't swum an event yet that requires it, although some of the Russian events I'm planning on swimming this summer will require it, so I'll let you know what i think in a few weeks.

    Francoevmothelittlemerwookieflystorms
  • FrancoFranco Charter Member

    I remember doing the End-Wet swim a few years ago and it was the only way whoever was in charge of the river would allow the race to go because of the high water level. After booking a long flight, hotel and training for what I figured would be a ten plus hour swim I had no problem wearing one.

    I also drag one when I am swimming alone along with my gold MSF cap.

    evmothelittlemerwookie
  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    I think they are an excellent training tool, especially for anyone who has no alternative other than to train alone...however, when I spend $100 or more to enter an event, I expect adequate safety coverage.

    ssthomasJaimie

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • FrancoFranco Charter Member

    In the event I mentioned this was not the RD trying to save a few bucks. He reached a compromise with the powers that be so that we could swim. Travel and lodging alone were much more than entry fee. It was more about being able to attempt the long swim that I trained for than the money and I was thankful the RD was able to make it happen.

    I doubt I would sign up for most events that would require one. If it is a course I want to swim and someone else is organizing but requires the float, I would probably do it. We always have option to plan our own swims and go without one. While some events with large participation may be money makers, I often wonder how some RD's aren't losing money. If it weren't for their countless hours and volunteer support I am sure they would. If they are organizing event it is their call.

    I think you may be correct that for some shorter events it may be a band aid but it is not the norm from my experience particularly in marathon distance events.

    IronMike
  • FrancoFranco Charter Member

    @natorro I am not one to worry too much about most things but there have been events where I could have used one.

    The primary reason for me using one is visibility to boaters. If there isn't boat traffic, I don't think you need one.

    I did a 10K in Pensacola, FL in 2010 before these floats were popular. It was the first time for the 10K event and there were long periods where I saw no support but other boaters were present. We were all fortunate that there were no close calls but it was dangerous. I am not sure how much the float would have helped but it sure would have made me feel better that day in the middle of that bay.

    tortuga
  • tortugatortuga Senior Member

    I don't see the problem with a visibility device. It can be easy to loose sight of a swimmer in ocean chop or foul weather. Safety first.

  • WarmWaterWarmWater SingaporeMember

    Twice during a 15k event I was nearly run over by speed boats with all crew over the stern picking up relay swimmers - really scary, however an orange float wouldn't have saved me as no one was looking out for swimmers in front. Crew training/briefings are important.

    wendyv34
  • TomDockTomDock Bradenton, FLMember

    I'm warming up to these floats and they come in pretty handy. I have a newwaveswimbouy.com and one from the ISHOF. I took me a year just to try them. A big added plus is they make it much easier to see or find your mates in the water and know where they are. I swim along a Florida beach with a fair amount of fisherman and boat traffic.

    Kate_Alexander
  • MoCoMoCo Worcester, MAMember

    I really like mine for training swims. I'm less happy with the idea of needing to wear them for a race or organized swim - to me a proper safety plan means I don't need the buoy. I'm definitely voting with my dollars in terms of avoiding races where they're required (which, sniff, means I am not doing the newly restarted Nubble Light swim in Maine despite how much I loved that race the first time).

    wendyv34ssthomas
  • scottishscottish New Member

    The boat traffic on the lake where I swim has been steadily increasing year over year.

    Do I need to be concerned about chafing when swimming with a float? I was checking out a lifeguard float yesterday and the strap seemed mildly abrasive.

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    I've done upwards of 3 hours in one and have not had any chafing issues.

  • caburkecaburke Charter Member

    Please don't count on a swim float to protect you from pleasure boat traffic in a crowded lake.

    wendyv34SoloBridget
  • jbsjbs Member

    I have to say that I don't understand the feeling that the buoy is a safety shortcut or that a proper safety plan would exclude them. There seems to be an assumption that race directors are requiring that people use the buoys solely so that the race directors can reduce the number of personnel on the course.
    Personally, I don't agree with that assumption. As an example, I've done Nubble both with and without a buoy -- as far as I could tell, the coverage on the course was the same both times.
    On the other hand, the buoys massively increase visibility and thus increase the ability of safety personnel to spot and rescue people having troubles. Yes, it does nothing for an unconscious person. But a buoy makes that person much easier to see, particularly in the middle of chop. I can tell you, standing out of the water looking for friends swimming, with my head about the height that a kayak would be, I can spot those with buoys very quickly. Those with just caps are much harder to see. One final thought about using these in races. The visibility makes the race much more interesting for both the swimmer and the spectators. Nubble was my first time using these in a race. I had a much better idea about where the field was because I could see the other swimmers even when they were relatively far away. And when I was done, I could look back at the course and the remaining swimmers popped out of the ocean visually. It was really cool.

    slknightSolo
  • swimrn62swimrn62 NY, NYMember

    We swim in an area where jetskis and power boats often come close enough to shore to be quite risky for swimmers. There has been at least one direct hit with injuries and several near misses. The buoys are invaluable for visibility. They also are great for carrying keys, feed bottles, and ID.

    I've never had a chafing problem, but do find them annoying in a tailwind. If that's in the cards, I shorten up the tether so it sits very close to my back so I can take a normal (for me) stroke.

    SoloBridget
  • BridgetBridget New York StateMember

    I was given a floaty this summer by friends I train with. Often, Jim swims with a small group of us, Linda paddles. She likes that I have the floaty because she likes the wetsuiters having buoyancy, and sees it as a good idea for me. I'm more appreciative of the added visibility to boaters, or if I'm swimming in chop. Over the weekend, I did some ocean swimming, and spoke with the beach guards before swimming far past the breakers. They appreciate the visibility. I was also in a rip for a while, and think that having the floaty let the guards let me swim in place for a while. I was in it for the workout, and maintained a decent proximity to shore. Eventually, I did get out, when I determined that I was not going to get forward progress.

    Because I was on vacation alone for the day, I liked the ability to tuck in some money, a small baggy for my earplugs and nose clip, and a larger baggy with a dress in it in case I decided to swim to one end of the beach and take a lunch break. ;-) For one swim, I also packed a snack, in case I took a break to walk on the beach.

    No chafing, even in the ocean in a 2 piece.

    It might have been a good thing years ago when I went off course in the ocean-- I got back on track, but the race support had no idea I was gone. Would I want to be required to wear one? No. Especially on a long swim with any wind to swim into. But if everyone was using them, at least the playing field would be level.

  • j9swimj9swim CharlestonSenior Member

    i love my swim buoy! Look it doesn't take the place of good sense and being aware of your surroundings in open water but it does provide additional visibility. Its like an insurance policy, you have it and really hope you never have to use it. and it does take a few times of wearing one before it stops startling you, but now it's my norm. I was introduced to them about 5 years ago by swimvacation.com who had the guides wear them always and the guest wear them when swimming across bays/channels between islands to provide visibility. Now i wear it pretty much all the time when swimming and would be fine with a event director asking us to wear one. It doesn't provide any buoyancy and can be drag if you don't close the bag well and water gets in as I found a couple of weeks ago while swimming NEK and working super hard to keep up with @swimrm62 till i dumped it.

    SolossthomasKate_Alexander
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    I use one when I'm swimming alone and boats may be around. I like the freedom it gives me to swim alone and it's nice to have a place for a pair of flip flops and feed bottle (or two). I've also made the mistake of not closing it properly and towing around 10 gallons of water (ok, that's an exaggeration, but that's what it felt like) before realizing my mistake. If I had my keys or phone in there, I'd be nervous so I don't usually use it for that. If I did, I probably wouldn't put a phone AND feed bottles in at the same time. I have found that if I don't tighten it enough to sit on my waist, I have chaffed on my hips, right where my swim suit comes up. It wasn't bad and if I have it tight enough around my waist, it's a non-issue. And sometimes it hits me on the back of the legs/back in a weird way and freaks me out. :-) I'd be skeptical of an event/race that requires one, but when swimming without a kayaker, it definitely gives me (and my husband) some peace of mind. Husband has told me that it is still hard to see me in a lot of chop, so if it's choppy and boaty, I use extra caution. But, I do think we should all have one, just in case we're in a situation where it makes sense to have some extra visibility. It's like a bike helmet- it might be slightly annoying, but it won't hurt you, and while it won't save your life if you or a boat are being idiots, it could come in pretty handy in the right situation.

    slknightKate_Alexander
  • jbsjbs Member

    Oh, I should mention the one thing I've really disliked about mine. No chafing with it, but whoever designed the model I have (ISHOF model) decided to chose a material for the waistband that expands when in contact with water. It's pretty extraordinary. I recently had a couple of weeks where I didn't use it, so it dried out completely. The waistband had shrunk so that I had a four inch gap between my hands. So, I loosened it to get it around me. About a half hour later, enough water had soaked in that I had to stop to re-tighten it and keep it from ending up at my ankles, or left behind.

    IronMike
  • MoCoMoCo Worcester, MAMember

    Whenever I put important things in mine, I always put them in first, push them all the way down, seal it up, then inflate it. then double check the clip on the dry bag part. Then the important thing is smushed between the bag and the filled air chamber, as far as possible from the opening. I do this because at least one person I know has lost car keys out of theirs during a swim. :)

  • brunobruno Barcelona (Spain)Member

    MoCo said: Whenever I put important things in mine, I always put them in first, push them all the way down, seal it up, then inflate it. then double check the clip on the dry bag part. Then the important thing is smushed between the bag and the filled air chamber, as far as possible from the opening.

    I do the same and never had any issues.

    I use mine most of the time, for visibility and to store keys, flip-flops, etc.

    But I don't like having it attached to my waist. After lots of tests (attach it to my ankle, thigh, calf..., and using all kind of strings, elastic bands...) I found that the best way for me is using a string about 1 meter long, and an elastic band with a quick-adjust no-lace lock, attached right below my knee (see pic).

    If the buoy is heavy due to items inside, the elastic would loosen; then I have to switch to a velcro band.

    2016_1029_093201_071

    Kate_Alexanderswimrn62
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    edited August 25

    Not sure if I'm just lucky or you guys have inferior products, but I've never even gotten close to getting water in mine. I have the ISHOF SaferSwimmer. It was expensive at first and I almost didn't buy it, but so glad I did. With it and a bright swim cap, I feel a lot safer in the water.

    And I've managed a lot of things in mine. I've filled mine with flip-flops, towel, cell phone, keys, t-shirt, cargo shorts, GPS. Never really felt it. Filled it, flipped the top over 3-4 times, clipped it, blew air into the bladder and went for a swim.

    Only issue I've ever had was swimming in a tailwind and the buoy coming up and wrapping around my arm. Gonna try and figure out a way to shorten the lead.

  • MoCoMoCo Worcester, MAMember

    I've never gotten water in mine (or lost things out of it) - I'm just paranoid. I have both the ISHOF Safer Swimmer and the New Wave Swim buoy. I like the New Wave buoy better because the waist belt is longer so it's a tad more comfortable for me and my bioprene. It's also a brighter color (more neon), and there isn't a separate cover for the inflation valve that you can break off like the ISHOF bouy.

  • ColmBreathnachColmBreathnach Charter Member

    Has anyone swam with a helium baloon? I imagine it would be a less drag and be more visible, as it would be out of the water. Or would it be too light and end up blowing all over the place?

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    MoCo said: I've never gotten water in mine (or lost things out of it) - I'm just paranoid. I have both the ISHOF Safer Swimmer and the New Wave Swim buoy. I like the New Wave buoy better because the waist belt is longer so it's a tad more comfortable for me and my bioprene. It's also a brighter color (more neon), and **there isn't a separate cover for the inflation valve that you can break off like the ISHOF bouy. **

    I broke my valve cover. :-(

  • MoCoMoCo Worcester, MAMember

    ssthomas said:

    I broke my valve cover. :-(

    I broke the little piece of plastic that keeps the valve cover connected to the tube on the ISHOF version. :-(

    ssthomas
  • @ColmBreathnach a couple weeks ago at Nubble Light (which required buoys) someone did attach a couple of the mylar helium balloons to his buoy... it seemed like they were too light to stay floating above the water when he was moving (just dragged with the buoy) but i think they enabled his family to find him in the sea of buoys!

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember
    edited August 25

    I will use the swim buoy when swimming alone. I also keep and eye and ear out for boats and jet skis. If they get in range, I stop and hold the swim buoy up and wave it around a little. It probably helps make me a little more visible because I've seen people alter their course after I do that.

    I put my keys and phone in a plastic zip lock bag and then put them in the buoy. Belt and suspenders...

    SoloKate_Alexander
  • ColmBreathnach said: Has anyone swam with a helium baloon? I imagine it would be a less drag and be more visible, as it would be out of the water. Or would it be too light and end up blowing all over the place?

    Always thought a golf flag attached to the float would work.

  • brunobruno Barcelona (Spain)Member

    I just remembered these "tuned bodyboards":

    customize-swimmer-buddy-468x468

    It comes from here: http://www.swimmerbuddy.com/product/order-swimmerbuddy/

    Perhaps an overkill (unless you are in very crowded or isolated areas)? And the "low drag" feature is hard to believe, due to the high wetted surface of the board.

    If you want to be seen, for the price of this board you can get 6 or 7 towfloats. The boats will see you for sure...

  • I have one that is used for diving/snorkeling and it comes with a detachable flag.

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