Polowat is located in the northwestern region (Oksoritod), and there in the western area (Pattiw) of Chuuk state. The location is . The atoll has five islets lying on the rim of the reef, with an aggregate land area of 3.4 km², listed counterclockwise starting at Polowat in the southeast:
- Polowat (east)
- Alengelap (north rim)
- To (north rim)
- Alei Island (west)
- Haw (south)
Since Polowat Atoll has only a small lagoon, in comparison with most Micronesian atolls, the total size is only 7 km². Alei in the west and Polowat in the east, the two largest islands of the atoll, have breadfruit trees at the middle and coconut palms along the shores. Along the northern rim of the reef, between Polowat and Alei, are Alengelap Islet and To Islet. The southern corner of the atoll is marked by Haw Islet, with 0.02 km² the smallest. These smaller islets are wooded, but have few coconut palms.
Polowat Atoll and specifically Alei Island are the westernmost land features of Chuuk state.
Uranie Bank, which extends about 26 km southeast from Polowat, has depths of 11 to 61 meters. Together with Polowat Atoll, it might be considered part of a larger, mostly submerged atoll structure, with a total size of 332 km².
The Japanese garrison during World War II was composed of 2,769 IJA men of the 11th Independent Mixed Regiment under the command of Colonel Tatsuo Yasui and 243 IJN men. Due to a food shortage 2 of the 3 army battalions were moved to Truk but still, 335 IJA soldiers and 211 IJN soldiers on the island died of hunger and illness. Japanese defence bunkers from the years leading up to World War II and a white concrete lighthouse tower, 40 meters high, stand on the northwest end of Alet. There are also many Japanese relics from WWII on Alei, including a beached ship that was attacked by American aircraft. At the bottom of the larger lagoon lies an American plane, also from WWII. The Japanese Lighthouse, is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
There is a radio station on Polowat.
- Robson, R.W. The Pacific Islands Handbook New York 1946. p.142
- Sharp, Andrew The discovery of the Pacific Islands Oxford, 1960, p.183.
- Brand, Donald D. The Pacific Basin: A History of its Geographical Explorations The American Geographical Society, New York, 1967, p.141.
- Takizawa, Akira; Alsleben, Allan (1999–2000). "Japanese garrisons on the by-passed Pacific Islands 1944-1945". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942.
- L, Klemen (1999–2000). "Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942".