Ok so I'm getting a pull buoy to help with my pull exercises when swimming (and a kickboard for the same with kick exercises) and I want to know if I were to go to a lake or the sea and swim, is it advisable to use a pull buoy in tidal water / open water?

Is it easy to use one out on big open water, or are there any techniques that differ to using one in the pool?

For those unsure a pull buoy is a leg float that you hold between your thighs.

  • I have a lot of experience in tidal water, and I have to say even with your explanations I really have no idea what you are asking. What is a pull bouy that's between your legs?
    – Escoce
    Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 23:26

2 Answers 2


After having a look on Google I found that yes you can use a pull buoy out in open water, and that they are often used in Triathlons to help the swimmer as they will often be very tired at this point and can allow their legs to rest between the bicycle stint and the running stint. This is as they are designed to improve your pull, leaving your legs to 'drag' through the water.

There does not seem to be any specific technique to using a pull buoy in the open water either, only the recommendation to not use one too often as you can become more reliant on them as they change how you swim (you can be less horizontal in the water), and not to use one if you have current lower back pain - but this applies to both pool swimming and open water swimming.

A pull buoy is also used to learn Bilateral Breathing – breathing on both sides - which is where you breathe on both sides during a freestyle / front-crawl swim. This can be done out at sea as well as in a pool.


Disregarding floating devices altogether (because they can easily be abandoned if needed), where and when you decide to swim in tidal waters should entirely depend on expertise of those waters. Currents are local phenomenon which do not necessarily replicate themselves from one place to another because the number of variables that lead to a predictable current are manifold.

However there are some precautions that one can take while learning the local waters. If you find yourself in a current that is pulling you out to sea, you should not try to fight the current. You want to get out of the current by swimming perpendicular to the current until you find yourself in water that is no longer pulling you away from shore.

Some tidal currents are created by a supply of inland water such as a river or bay, and you will not have the strength nor stamina to fight this current as it is likely to last for up to 6 hours without any hint of letting up.

Don't worry whether it's the shore you started with, your goal in this case is to get to ANY shore. You are much safer walking a few miles than you are trying to swim a few miles. Swim along the shoreline until you are no longer moving away from the shore, then turn shoreward and get yourself to dry land.

  • Thanks for the amswer but i specifically want to know about using the float in the open water... I will tidy the question I think. This doesn't answer anything for me.
    – Aravona
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 5:47
  • I've improved my question. I don't care about this information, sorry. I was after specific pull buoy techniques and information
    – Aravona
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 5:50

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