The type of equipment used for swimming depends largely on its intended function. Swimming equipment is typically used for safety, exercise, and sports. Safety equipment includes everything from inflatable rings to divers’ wet suits. Swimming equipment used for exercise is typically designed for weight loss, toning, and physical therapy. Equipment used for summing-related water sports ranges from volleyballs to surfboards.
Safety equipment for water-related activities is typically designed to keep a swimmer afloat. The youngest swimmer can be fitted with a zippered swim vest to keep him safe while he becomes accustomed to the water. Goggles protect the eyes, while earplugs and nose plugs keep water out. Pleasure boats are typically required to carry life-saving equipment, such as life preservers or regulation personal flotation devices (PFDs) on board.
Snorkels and self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, or SCUBA, gear help swimmers view shallow or deep underwater scenery safely. Divers and surfers often wear wet suits, which are designed to keep the swimmer’s body temperature stable, keep water resistance low, and increase buoyancy. Divers generally use depth gauges, pressure gauges, compasses, and underwater lighting to help them stay safe while swimming. Perhaps the ultimate piece of safety equipment for a sightseeing swimmer is the “shark cage,” which allows swimmers to view shark activity while protected from harm.
Equipment designed for water aerobics or hydrotherapy is generally meant to help people gain strength and flexibility while swimming. Water aerobics minimizes stress on injured or weak joints and muscles, so this is usually appropriate exercise for obese people or those recovering from a severe injury. People often use kickboards to help them get a cardiovascular workout even if they are not expert swimmers. They can hold the kickboard out in front of them and propel themselves up and down the pool by kicking their legs and feet.
Pushing an inflated ball underwater repeatedly can build strength in upper arms and shoulders. Standing on a swimming noodle generally increases balance. Swimming equipment manufacturers usually have a wide variety of exercise equipment suited for water use. This can include barbells, swim fins, webbed gloves and boxing gloves.
Water sports swimming equipment for the pool often includes balls and nets for water sports like volleyball, basketball, and football. It can also include equipment like inflatable lounge chairs and floating obstacle courses for less vigorous activities. In a lake or ocean, swimming equipment typically means surfboards, water skis, paddleboats, and jet skis.