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Team Propel

Essential Equipment Every Swim Instructor Should Have

Teach 4 min read
Deciding what gear to keep in your swim kit isn’t always easy.

Did you just start teaching people how to swim privately? Or, perhaps you’re only now starting to put together your own equipment. Either way, if you’re looking for a list of must-have equipment to aid you in helping your swim students excel, you’ve come to the right place.

PS We’ve listed where to find each and ordered them from least to most expensive.

Recommended Essentials

1. Kick Boards (Adult & Kid sized)

The swiss army knife in every swim instructor’s back pocket, the kick board is a versatile tool that can be used to provide varying levels of buoyancy support in nearly any drill or activity. Yes, you could opt for noodles or dumbbells but neither are as easy to pack (or as iconic) as the classic and quintessential foam kickboard.

“Can you go grab me another one?” Said every instructor ever.

Where to find kickboards

Dollarama • Amazon • Sportchek • AllTides • Canadian Tire

2. Diving Toys

Nothing helps kids submerge beneath the surface like a colorful toy that’s just out of reach! The best sinking toys are durable and large enough that small children can’t swallow them. You’ll want to avoid squishy sprayers or fabric toys that don’t dry easily. These types of toys can start to smell funky if they are left wet for too long.

A good set of diving rings, made from a material that is seemingly indestructible.

Where to find diving toys

Dollarama • Amazon

3. Swim Equipment Bag

A great equipment bag does two things: #1 it provides ventilation so that your stuff can dry and #2 it fits all of your awkwardly shaped swim gear. And when it comes to selecting bag types, there are a few different categories worth considering. Basic mesh sacks are cheap and can easily be found at the dollar store for a few bucks. Competition swim bags cost a little more but may also have pockets for your swimwear and goggles. And lastly scuba equipment bags while most expensive, are usually the most spacious and durable.

If you do pay top dollar for a speedo bag, at least get one with fun colors.

Where to find swim equipment bags

Dollarama • Amazon • Alltides

4. Digital Thermometer

When the temperature doesn’t feel quite right and you need to inform pool maintenance, it helps to able to provide them with an objective measurement in Celsius or Fahrenheit. For a consistent digital readout, we recommend an infrared thermometer which allows you to take a reading without even getting wet. Note, don’t pay more than you need to for these. Great options can be found on Amazon for $20.

Most infrared thermometers ARE created equal, so just get a cheap one!

Where to find thermometers

Amazon • Walmart

Optional But Really Nice to Have

5. Wetsuit

If you’re going to be in the water for any period of time, consider getting a wetsuit. If you’ve never used one before, it’s meant to be filled with water that, once warmed from the heat of your body, will keep you comfortable for hours.

While wetsuits may look similar to rash guards, they keep you much warmer!

Protip: In the summer months, Costco carries very affordable wetsuits. Any other time of year, consider grabbing these secondhand off your local listing marketplace where you’ll often find surfing or triathlon suits that have only been used once or twice at great prices.

Where to find wet suits

Costco • FB Marketplace • Craigslist • Kijiji • Amazon

6. Storage Clipboard

A swim instructor’s best friend, the handy plastic clipboard is great for storing worksheets, report cards, and even a granola bar or two to chomp on between lessons!

Where to find storage clipboards

Amazon •Walmart • Staples

7. Laminated or Waterproof Paper Printed Worksheets

Sometimes it can be helpful to show students or parents exactly the skills or progressions you are working on right in the lesson worksheet. In this case, having a set of worksheets that has been laminated or printed on waterproof paper is amazing!

Where to get them

Your local print shop

8. Sport Watch or Fitness Tracker

It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re having fun! A simple and stylish wrist watch or fitness tracker can help you to start and stop lessons on time. If you go the watch route, almost any “sport watch” is waterproof but some brands we’d recommend are Casio and G-Shock. Activity trackers from Fitbit or Xiaomi are also good options. If you have a fancy apple watch though, consider leaving it at home as it’s far too easy to accidentally brush up against the pool wall and scratch the screen.

Where to get them

Amazon • Walmart

9. Swimming Goggles

If you’re doing your job as a swimming instructor, you’ll be closely observing your students and fixing incorrect skills before they become bad habits. If you’re only watching things above the water, you’re more likely to miss things happening below the surface. It also doesn’t hurt to keep a spare pair around, in case one of your students forgets to bring theirs.

Where to get them

Dollarama • Amazon • Alltides

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