Swimming equipment and aids, all types of floats to learn with, all the info you need to get started

You will be surprised by the range of swimming equipment you can buy when you want to learn to swim. Don't worry about this it will not break the bank. Some can be expensive but to be honest you only need simple and basic not too fancy that could possibly be borrowed from your local swimming pool if you ask nicely. So let's go through the options and discuss the positive and negatives and benefits of each so you can make an informed decision. Some have been used, tried and tested for years some come onto the market and then disappears again. I tend to use the same all the time because they work for me and I will point those out as we get to them.

All of the swimming equipment or buoyancy aids mentioned will be followed by a photograph. When you see these items in shops and leisure centers you may find they could vary in color and shape etc but do the same job.

click here to find swimming equipment for teaching your child or yourself to swim


Firstly let start with arm bands, not my favorite swimming equipment to be honest. They do have their uses and prove essential support in situations where it is more difficult and may need to have a whole swimming lesson out of their depth. I do tend to have armbands removed as soon as possible when teaching and change if for a buoyancy aid that gives mid body support. (I will explain this next). They can be used in the early stages of swimming until the swimmer is feeling more confident.

Arm bands can keep a swimmer off the pool bottom with the head above water under supervision. Make sure that there are not any holes by blowing them up and holding them under water and look for air bubbles. Always blow them fully and check you have the correct size armband for the size and weight of the person wearing them. Don't wear tiny armbands if you are and adult.

When learning to swim armbands can make it more difficult to achieve a streamlined position because the support is on the upper body.

So to conclude arm bands are good for the short term use and early stages of swimming. Can offer support in difficult situations. They are quite cheap to buy as well as hard wearing and can be purchased in most sport shops and leisure centers. Good for general use when in a busy swimming pool gives parents piece of mind.

The negative I would say which is only my opinion is that they are not giving support in the correct area. It also encourages children to swim with legs vertical instead of being flat in the water. Children get very reliant on them and will not enter the pool without them. They can give a false sense of security.


Rubber rings, they are inflatable rings giving support under the arms. Keeping the head above water. Hard to swim in a horizontal position. Swimmer can swim in deeper water in a more vertical position. The danger is that is possible to fall through the centre of the ring. This is more of a concern when a swimmer raises their arms. Make sure that the rubber ring is the correct size and there is not enough room for someone to fall through. I do see as many people wearing these as much as I used to and I have never seen anyone wearing one during a swimming lesson. Not suitable for very young children due to the risk of being too small for the size of the ring.


Baby floats,swimming equipment designed for babies to sit in and enjoy the water safely. They are normally inflatable and incorporate an area for the babies legs to go through. You should never leave a baby unattended but I think that goes without saying. Unlike a rubber ring babies cannot fall through so you can enjoy playing with your child. The only thing I would be wary of is that if a baby was to lean too far forward it could potentially tip over but I feel that the benefit out weighs this and as long as you stay with your child you will not have this problem. There are different types and designs but they all do the same job, just shop around and see what is out there.

baby float


Swim belts also known as body belts. This swimming equipment is a string of polystyrene blocks tied together with a cord. This ties around the waist. It give mid support and is an excellent progression from armbands. It is more effective with swimmers who are more confident but are not swimming without swimming aids. They are not always suitable for non-swimmers but with woggles and other floats the swim belt will add confidence to a non-swimmer. Not suitable for an non swimmer in deeper water on its own because it does not keep the head above water like armbands.

Swim belts keep the free movement of arms and legs which is valuable to the swim teacher or parent etc. They can be quite useful when taking a child who can swim but needs the added confidence swimming in the deeper water until they feel confident enough to remove it altogether. The other advantage of the swim belt is that to can remove the little polystyrene blocks one at a time which can be done on a gradual basis giving less support each time until you can remove it altogether. It can help a child to maintain a good vertical body position. There are also variations of these belts and the polystyrene blocks are incorporated into a jacket similar to a life jacket with a zip and you can also remove the buoyancy from them in the same way.

These swim belts are one of my personal favorites and I use them for my private lessons with swimmers and non-swimmers with additional floats.

They are easily to put on and remove the only disadvantage is that you need to out of the water to put on and remove. You also have to make sure that the string is securely tied and does not come undone when swimming. But I do not have any problems.

swim belt


Swimming floats, this swimming equipment is made from polystyrene come in all shapes and sizes, so you can choose the size you need for your requirements. This is necessary to have the correct size because the float has to hold your weight in the water when you lean on it. To check if a float is the correct size measure the float against the size of the swimmers arm. You can purchase adult floats with holes for your hands to grip and child floats which are about A4 size. Swimming floats are the most widely used piece of swimming equipment. They are suitable for total beginners to advanced competitive swimmers.

You can use them on your front or back they can be used singular held in front of the swimmer. Depending on where you hold the float effects the swimmer in different ways and none of the following ways are wrong as long as they are used in the correct situation. If you hold the float at the end it will give less support a swimmer could sink if they are a beginner. That may be fine if you are trying to strengthen your leg kick. If you hold the float one hand either side it will give you support and balance. If you hold the float at the far end you could also sink because you are bearing your weight on it. You can also hold two at a time on under each arm when beginning. We will go into the practices in my other pages.

To conclude polystyrene floats are an essential piece of swimming equipment for learner’s improvers and professional swimmers. They have been around for a long time tried and tested, my swimming lessons would not be the same without them. If you do not buy anything else make sure you get swim floats for your swimming sessions.

swim floats

Kick boards are also in the category of swimming equipment as swim floats they are of similar shape but tend to be thicker and much bigger. It can help the arms to rest keeping the head above water and allowing a swimmer to concentrate on the leg kick. I would not recommend this type of board for practicing the butterfly legs because it could damage your lower spine.


Woggles, these are another useful piece of swimming equipment. They to leave your arms free to swim as well as your legs. They are tubular and about 1.5 meters long and about 7-8 cm in diameter but this can vary depending on the manufactures but they all are used in the same way. They can be used to swim on your front or back. They are not attached to your body like a swim belt or arm bands. They move along with you and keep you balanced. They will support adults and children. They can be used for playing games with children and can be quite fun for them. When you use your imagination you may be able to think of some ideas. I mainly use woggles for people who cannot swim but they can have uses for swimmers who can but they do have their limitations in these cases. Woggles are one of my favorite and essential pieces of swimming equipment for the non-swimmer.

wogge


Swimming floats can also come in different shapes and sizes which can be fun for a child learning to swim. You can buy floats in shapes of animals and different colors. The animals that I do know of is teddy bears, turtles, ducks, fish, rabbit and and hedgehog. You can also get numbers and letters as well as building blocks which can be fun i.e. spelling their name or doing sums or building things etc. I am not aware of any others but I am sure there could be more out there. I do have a game that can be played with these floats which I will talk about more detail on the page called swim games.

animal floats


Pull buoys, these are floats which are held between the thigh. They are mainly used for more experienced swimmers or swimmers who need to rest their legs. They are a float for your legs like a hand float is for your arms you can just concentrate on getting your arms right. The only trouble with these pull buoys is that because they bring the legs to the surface more you can sometimes find that the face is more likely to be in the water. This would fine for front crawl but more of a problem for breastbone. But they are easy to let go of whilst you are swimming they are not attached to your body and are not a problem. Quite useful equipment for the improver

pull buoys


Toys for learning games, these can consist of various things like toy watering cans, balls, hula hoops rubber ducks and things that sink. Have look in the toy shops and see what there is. Also you could get hula hoops to swim through which are great fun these can also have a few uses which I will tell you about in my pages on games. This swimming equipment can be taken to your local pool and played with to gain much needed water confidence.


Goggles, these can be a great help building water confidence. When a person is frightened of the water and does not like being splashed goggles can be very useful. Goggles can make all the difference sometimes, children can put their head in without feeling nervous of getting water in their eyes.

Goggles can sometimes be a hindrance when teaching your child to swim not so much when you are teaching yourself. Children tend to take them off when you are talking and back on to swim. sometimes more often than not they can leak and they stop what they are doing. I have known children not to be able to swim or put their head in without goggles. All these factors need to be weighed up, I tell my children that if you fell in the canal you will not have your goggles with you so you have to get used to getting water in your face.

When purchasing goggles check that they fit the face properly without any gaps. Think about getting goggles that have an integrated nose bridge so that the frame around the eyes and bridge are all one piece. The goggles that have a joined bridge is adjustable and sometimes come undone or separate and I personally find that these goggles tend to leak more and believe me I have got through loads of pairs of goggles.


So as you can see there is a lot of swimming equipment you can use to teach yourself, your toddler or child or improver. This can be purchased in a local sports shop or on the internet offering good discounts and special offers. Sometimes if you ask a lifeguard at your local pool they may lend you some swimming equipment and don’t worry you do not need all of this swimming equipment in one go or even use all of it just select what you need for the practices that I suggest in my other pages. you may think will stimulate your child

Here's the swimming equipment you'll need if you are teaching a non-swimmer child- Woggle, swim belt two small hand floats, and a small collection of learning toys e.g. watering can, rubber duck and anything else that will stimulate your child. Then try looking at my other pages to get started what do you have to lose. click here to reurn to home page