Floatie Friends

Floatie Friends are the fun way to help young swimmers gain foundational swimming skills and water confidence.

  • Build swimming skills
  • Gain water confidence
  • Multiple levels for progressive skill building
  • Colorful fun design - kids love Floatie Friends

Floatie Friends are an innovative series of progressive swim accessories designed by an experienced swim instructor to help young swimmers develop foundational swimming skills, muscle memory, and water confidence.

Based on decades of product iteration and tested on countless swim school students for efficacy, Floatie Friends help young swimmers learn skills faster and more accurately so they can feel more confident and have more fun in the water.


Floatie Friends are designed to help young swimmers learn foundational swimming skills such as buoyancy, breath control, and propulsion. Floatie Friends help young swimmers get more confident when floating and rolling in the water.

Made of colorful foam and designed to be easily held by little hands, the Floatie Friends swim accessories come in multiple sizes to help swimmers progress in their skill building. As they gain more confidence in the water, young swimmers can decrease the assistance from their Floatie Friends and rely more on their developing swim skills.


Exactly what my 2 year old needed to give him the extra confidence in the water to swim independently. He is able to swim the length of the pool while using Floatie Friends to support him coming up for breaths in between on his own. It has been incredible to watch his confidence grow in the water and for him to essentially swim on his own with just Floatie Friends in his hands for support.

a Makai Mama
Floatie Friends

Turn swim time into learning time
Watch your child build water confidence
Have more fun with Friends!

Floatie Friends are two separate floats that swimmers hold in each hand which allows swimmers to find their core strength and buoyancy needed to stay prone.  As their confidence builds and their bodies get used to being in proper prone positioning, swimmers will learn that in order to move forward through the water they must put their head down with their face in the water and propel themselves by kicking. Once these first steps have been established, swimmers can use their Floatie Friends to learn other foundational swimming skills like back floating, rolling over, independent breathing and more!

These progressive swim accessories give varying levels of buoyancy–from the most buoyant Henry the Humpback to the least buoyant Sebastian the Shark– to support different skill levels and allow swimmers to use each buoyancy level of Floatie Friends as they feel more certain in the water.

The Floatie Friends Story

Floatie Friends were developed by Tami Nixon, swim instructor and owner of Makai Swim School in Napa, California. Tami has spent decades helping young swimmers in Northern California learn foundational swimming skills and gain more confidence in the water. 

One of her favorite swimming memories has stuck with her ever since she was a little girl. Tami was apprehensive to swim across the pool and float on her back by herself. Her swim teacher gave her two floaty toys to hold, one in each hand. Holding on to the floaty toys gave her just enough confidence to swim across the pool and just a little bit of buoyancy to be able to lift her head up to breathe and float on her back on her own.

She did it!

Then her teacher gave her a “magic string” to hold on to. This magic string would give her the same confidence to be able to swim on her own even though it provided no buoyancy. Essentially a floaty placebo. 

And guess what? She did it again! She swam on her own.

For the past 30 years, Tami has iterated on the concept of a hand-held floating aid, knowing how helpful it is for young swim students. 

The typical wearable swim aids, such as life jackets and water wings, don’t help students learn how to swim. In fact, they create a false sense of confidence and incorrect body positioning in the water.

Kickboards and barbell floats also don’t help young swimmers build the balance and core strength necessary to move through the water, because these swim aids are a singular fixed position that both hands hold on to. 

Her students needed to be able to hold an accessory in each hand, so Tami started working with milk jugs. 

Yes, you read that correctly. Milk jugs. 

Tami would give her students two empty plastic milk jugs. The caps would be left on to hold air in and create buoyancy. Her swimmers would hold one milk jug by the handle with each hand and be able to swim across the pool with perfect balance, buoyancy, and propulsion as well as be able to lift their heads up to breathe and roll over on their back to float. Just like she was able to do with her swim teacher as a little girl.

After milk jugs, Tami tried many more floaty objects until she finally designed and created the ultimate swim accessory to help her students develop their skills and confidence in the water. 

The result of decades of iteration are Floatie Friends! 

Now parents can utilize the same swimming aid developed by a professional swim instructor and swim school owner to help young swimmers practice their skills while having more fun in the water. 

Whether at a swim school or in the backyard pool, Floatie Friends are the colorful swim accessory that helps kids improve their skills and confidence. Learning to swim is more fun with Floatie Friends!

Floatie Friends is not a life-saving device. Please read our full disclaimer here.