Until my recent trip to Lake Placid, I had never used a swim buoy. Honestly, I never really thought I needed one. Most of my open water swimming is actually in Mirror Lake, and every year but this one there is a swim line underwater that you can stand on, and buoys along it to grab if you need. On top of that when I swim in my wetsuit I float. Lastly, there is no motorized boat traffic allowed on Mirror Lake. So to me, I didn’t really see the need for one, and they seemed to be a burden to lug behind you.
The crowds of people on Mirror Lake paddle boarding, kayaking, and canoeing on the have increased considerably this year. The missing swim line has people swimming all over the place, and the boat traffic isn’t exactly carving out an area for the swimmers. In short, it is chaos out there. In this craziness, I was hit by another swimmer and almost hit by a family rowboating, probably for the first time (seven people wearing standard issue orange lifevests are a dead giveaway). Thankfully, my wife was paddle boarding in front of me and was able to yell to them that they were on track to hit me, aw. The lake water temp was also almost 80 degrees, and so I decided to forgo the wetsuit for most of my swims removing another layer of safety.
Well, my wife decided after hearing about crashing into the swimmer and seeing the boat traffic that I needed a swim buoy. She picked me up a New Wave Swim Buoy at the Fallen Arch on Main St., and I reluctantly brought it to the beach for my next swim.
Surprise, surprise, I didn’t even know I had it on. I swam almost 2 miles and didn’t feel it or go any slower across the distance. While I didn’t need it to rest on, I did test the ability for it to hold me up, and it fully supported my weight in the water. What’s more, and something I liked quite a bit was the small dry compartment where you can store your car keys and phone. Why do you need your phone on the water you ask? Waterproof Bluetooth earbuds and Spotify f.t.w.! Swim with your music… Anyway, normally I would just leave my keys in a bag on shore and hope everything was there when I got back.
In terms of setup, there is a screw valve to tighten after you inflate the air bladder which takes about two breaths. After you are done swimming, undo the valve and squeeze the air out for compact storage, piece of cake.
Although I don’t do much in the way of unprotected open water swimming, I will use the buoy from now on because I can’t think of a reason not to. It can only help if I get in trouble, let’s people know where I am, and lets me swim with music if I choose to. Win, win, win. I do recommend the New Wave product if you are shopping for a swim buoy.