Swim buoys: good for safety and fun


Friday was a beautiful summer day in Boston– sunny, mid-70s F/24C– so my friend Norah and did what one must on a day like today– we went swimming.

Walden Pond (yes, that Walden Pond) is 11 miles from my house, and is a swimmer’s paradise. The pond is big, deep, clean, and has all sorts of half-hidden shoreline coves where you can set down your towel and snacks and head into the water.

We did just that, but with one added item: our brand-new swim buoys. They are now required for anyone who swims outside of the roped-off guarded swim areas at the pond. There was a big kerfuffle over open-water swimming at Walden this summer, and the current rule is the third iteration after the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation abruptly banned all open-water swimming there.

I don’t mind at all using a swim buoy. They’re not expensive, you can put car keys and a phone inside them (they’re part dry bag and part floatation device!), and they make swimmers super-visible to kayakers, fishing folks and anyone on shore.

Here’s Norah, setting hers up:

Norah, sealing up her swim buoy (an early birthday present from me).

Once I got mine all set up, I got directions on which way the water was.

Catherine, with swim buoy, pointing to confirm the location of the pond.

All that remained was to go on in, as the water was fine.

Catherine, wading in with buoy, ready for some safe swimming bliss.

Turns out, lots of people who are casual but very comfortable open-water swimmers also purchased swim buoys. So, I had colorful company out in deep water before Norah joined me.

Is there anything lovelier than this? Blue sky, puffy clouds, clean fresh water, and day-glow swim buoy following you around while you swim? I’m on the right, btw.

Honestly, I don’t mind it at all, and it makes very good sense for those of us who swim in open water.

So readers, what about you? Do you use a swim buoy? Are they required where you live and swim? Have you been in the water yet this summer? Do you want to meet me there next Friday? Let me know.

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