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FR.LLC
May 30th, 2012, 08:14 AM
There was a tie-behind swim buoy advertised in Swimmer Magazine a few issues ago. How many of you use them and what are some benefits?

Rob Copeland
May 30th, 2012, 09:16 AM
Iíve used mine on a few occasions.

Benefits:
I train in a lake that allows a few power boats. The SaferSwimmer is much more visible than just me in my cap. Our boaters generally look out for swimmers so I havenít felt in danger either way.

On longer swims Iíll include a couple of water/nutrition bottles, for feedings.

I bring it when I help out at open water clinics. Itís a nice Open Water tool to demonstrate to get folks thinking about safety and it could come in handy if some of the novice open water swimmers have difficulty (which hasnít happened yet). I have used the tie behind buoy during open water lessons; where Iíll give it to the student so they can have a break when we stop in deep water for instruction.

Cons:
I got the XXL size buoy, which I donít believe is currently available. Loaded with 3-4 water bottles it seemed to add 30-60 seconds to my training mile time. The drag is slightly noticeable, which is not a big deal on a training swim.

ALM
May 30th, 2012, 01:47 PM
I own a couple of these devices. It was developed by (and is sold by) the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF). There is a page on their web site that includes a video, testimonials, and a link to purchase the device:

http://ishof.org/safety/ssd.htm

You can also buy it from Kiefer:
http://www.kiefer.com/ishof-safe-swimmer-buoy-products-279.php

Since I bought mine, they have improved the design. The original design tended to break where the strap attached to the buoy; the new design is more rugged. They now offer it in two sizes (23" x 10" for $34.95, or 25" x 12" for $39.95).

The nice thing about this device is that it also serves as a dry bag for carrying your stuff. For example, if I go to the beach by myself I can put my car keys in the dry bag pocket and bring them with me, instead of leaving them unguarded on the beach.

The buoy doesn't create much drag for the swimmer. After you load your stuff into the dry bag, you inflate the bladder. So when you are swimming, the bag floats and you hardly know it's there.

FR.LLC
May 31st, 2012, 08:59 AM
I like the 'NEMO orange' color of the Kiefer buoy! It probably is a little safer with than without.

The lake I'm on is small. About 75 meters across 800 meters long. I have spotted some fishing vessels on the lake. :D I am not worried about myself as much as I wonder if the boaters think I'm being reckless without some sort of visual/floatation device.

The dry bag is a better option than burying your keys in the sand!!!!!

ALM
May 31st, 2012, 11:31 AM
The orange buoy will make you MUCH more visible to the boaters. If I go to the beach by myself, I always show it to the guard and tell him/her that I'll be pulling it while I swim. Without fail, when I finish, the guards always comment on how easy it was to keep track of me.

Rob Copeland
May 31st, 2012, 11:33 AM
Anna Lea also uses hers as a sleeping bag on camping trips:D

ALM
May 31st, 2012, 03:59 PM
Anna Lea also uses hers as a sleeping bag on camping trips:D

Man, I still can't think of a good comeback for this...

waves101
June 1st, 2012, 08:26 AM
Just bought one from Kiefer. Looking forward to using it.

Queen
June 1st, 2012, 10:58 AM
I already own a "diver down" float for snorkeling, and have used it for some open water swims, but this looks like it would have a lot less drag.

ALM
June 1st, 2012, 11:53 AM
I already own a "diver down" float for snorkeling, and have used it for some open water swims, but this looks like it would have a lot less drag.

If it's empty, you don't even know it's there. The only time I feel it is if there are waves. Then I will feel a little tug on the belt. We don't get big waves here. If you were swimming in big waves it might get kind of annoying.

aqueoushumor
June 1st, 2012, 07:24 PM
Thanks for this info. I have to admit that when I first saw these I thought it was the hokiest thing I had ever seen. Might as well swim with water wings!! On the other hand, I am always trying to come up with a way to carry stuff. And anything that reduces the chance of an "accidental" meeting with a drunk boater is always welcome. Glad to hear there is no real drag to worry about, and that it really isn't giving any actual floatation help while swimming. Still not convinced, but...maybe eventually getting there.

Randy Marchman
June 3rd, 2012, 02:12 AM
I own one of ISHOF ones and use it every time I go out in the lake, the dry storage is great. Maybe it is the fault of my open water stroke but the only problem I have had is with my hand hitting it when exiting the water at the end of a stroke. I highly recommend it :)

rxleakem
June 14th, 2012, 10:16 PM
I used the Safe Swimmer float (large size) for the first time last night, and it is as great as many have stated. I purposely filled it with more stuff than I plan on usually storing in the dry pack (sandals, shirt, shorts, small towel, keys, and phone - I hope to only use it for the last three items), then inflated it and clipped it on. I actually had to check a few times to be sure the thing was still bobbing behind me! No issues with the dry stuff staying dry, which is a really great feature. It only tugged a little bit when I swam some fly and breast, due to my diving below the surface. Otherwise, not an issue.

With the storage and also the extra viability it provides the OW swimmer, I would definitively recommend folks getting one for their next splash. I ordered the Kiefer version when there was free shipping. :)

solitude
June 15th, 2012, 11:54 AM
I'm thinking of getting one. Anyone recommend one size over another? Does it just depend on how much storage you want?

ALM
June 15th, 2012, 12:12 PM
I'm thinking of getting one. Anyone recommend one size over another? Does it just depend on how much storage you want?

I own both sizes. I'd go for the bigger one. It makes you that much more visible to others, and it does have a little more storage room. It's no more difficult to tow. As the previous poster said, when it's inflated you don't even know it's there (as long as you're not in big waves).

Sedonahomes3
August 27th, 2012, 04:11 PM
To the one responder's comment that says they swim on a lake and boaters are cautious about swimmers in the water . . I will tell you that I have a 45-foot aft-cabin that has a flybridge where I pilot from about 25 feet high above the water. My visibility from there is outstanding!! (I can't image what it would be low to water in a run-about). Anyway when I'm in, out or around San Diego Bay (and even though I'm cautious) I still do not like just how quick and easy it is to "miss" seeing a swimmer, or kayaker, etc. in the bay water. San Diego Bay is an accident waiting to happen (and yes it will happen I don't care how cautious you are . . the number of swimmers and kayakers is ever increasing). I started seeing these swim buoys occasionally, probably about a year or so ago, and I'm an open water swimmer myself . . so I'm just now looking at this thread to see if there were any "cons" to having one. I certainly don't see one that outweights the absolute "pros" of making yourself more visible to boaters. I can tell you first hand that piloting a 50,000 lb craft at about 15 - 20 knots (not half the speed of some of the guys on the bay) AND after seeing one of these things in the water as I'm going by that I ALWAYS praise the swimmer as I go by and thank him/her for wearing it . . although they'll never know it. So thanks to all of you that do wear them . . and I'm buying mine right now.

MikeGarr
August 30th, 2012, 09:01 PM
Been using my swim buoy since late July and love it. I don't worry about my keys and I even carry my cell phone, so the guy who slices me with his boat can call my ICE numbers when he pulls my body out.
:drown:

chaos
August 31st, 2012, 09:30 PM
Cons:
I got the XXL size buoy, which I donít believe is currently available. Loaded with 3-4 water bottles it seemed to add 30-60 seconds to my training mile time. The drag is slightly noticeable, which is not a big deal on a training swim.

I've got one of the large ones also... its a drag.

The smaller units were provided and required for all the swimmers in this 21k swim I did in Sweden on Aug 4. We had a bit of a head wind, but everyone wore them. They do add a bit of time, but are hardly noticeable.

Randy Marchman
September 1st, 2012, 01:53 AM
I've got one of the large ones also... its a drag.

The smaller units were provided and required for all the swimmers in this 21k swim I did in Sweden on Aug 4. We had a bit of a head wind, but everyone wore them. They do add a bit of time, but are hardly noticeable.

do you mean the drag is hardly noticeable or the buoy itself? Cheers!

chaos
September 1st, 2012, 08:19 AM
do you mean the drag is hardly noticeable or the buoy itself? Cheers!

the small buoy adds little drag to the swimmer, but does add a significant degree of visibility

sydned
September 2nd, 2012, 11:21 AM
Just used mine for the first time yesterday, on a lake with a significant amount of boat traffic. Not only did it make me feel safer, but it made my husband, on the shore, feel MUCH better.

When we travel, I often do open water swims in relatively unknown areas. Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, etc. I plan on taking this with me and using it every time. I love that he can see where I am and that the boats will be more aware of me out there.

It took a bit to get used to be but after that, I loved being able to have a water bottle with me and found that I barely noticed it behind me.

Randy Marchman
September 3rd, 2012, 12:00 AM
Just used mine for the first time yesterday, on a lake with a significant amount of boat traffic. Not only did it make me feel safer, but it made my husband, on the shore, feel MUCH better.

When we travel, I often do open water swims in relatively unknown areas. Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, etc. I plan on taking this with me and using it every time. I love that he can see where I am and that the boats will be more aware of me out there.

It took a bit to get used to be but after that, I loved being able to have a water bottle with me and found that I barely noticed it behind me.

Did you use the water bottle during your swim? If so, did that require deflating the buoy?

Cleon
September 3rd, 2012, 10:26 PM
Use one when training where boats may be a problem. Guards also like them when swimming off a beach. Still a little Leary putting car keys afraid will open and I will not be able to get home.

sydned
September 4th, 2012, 09:25 AM
I brought my water bottle because I was doing a 2-hour swim and knew I'd want something to drink at some point.

It stays in a separate compartment and does not require deflating the buoy. Great design in that regard. To open that compartment, I would say it's easier to stand as I didn't do it while treading water. No water got in there and I would have felt perfectly safe putting my keys in it.

Rob Copeland
September 4th, 2012, 10:19 AM
Still a little Leary putting car keys afraid will open and I will not be able to get home.You can always put your keys in a separate zip-lock bag or double bag if you are really afraid.

rxleakem
September 4th, 2012, 10:16 PM
You can always put your keys in a separate zip-lock bag or double bag if you are really afraid.

I have not had a problem with Leake-ing :D
I do bring my phone to gps swims, and have a ziplock bag for that reason, just in case.