Life Jacket Design Competition

Discussion in 'Projects & Proposals' started by brian eiland, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

    Adam Malcom, a graduate student in the University of Virginia's Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Program, was awarded the $5,000 grand prize in the first Innovations in Life Jacket Design Competition sponsored by the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and the Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association (PFDMA). Competition criteria included wearability; reliability; cost; and innovation. What was notably absent from this list was the need to adhere to any of the established life jacket design regulations.

    "We received 182 submissions from armchair inventors, average boaters and students from as far away places as China and Australia," said PFDMA Executive Director Bernice McArdle. Some designs focused on improving existing life jacket models with new technology or style enhancements. Other designs were completely outside the box with little or no regard to current design guidelines, while others blended the two. Two design elements emerged as judges' favorites: the use of high-tech fabrics that could improve upon current designs, and devices that were the least obtrusive," she said.

    Malcom's winning entry was essentially the latter - a slender belt worn around the waist. The unit would stay out of the way and not retain body heat. When activated either manually with a ripcord or automatically via a CO2 gas cylinder, slender, symmetrically-arranged air bladders stored inside the belt inflate rising up to surround the wearer on all sides. No secondary action, such as sliding flotation over the head, is necessary. You simply float much like you would in an inner tube.

    The five Honorable Mentions went to:
    -Sean Denham, a student at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA,
    majoring in Industrial Design proposed a T-shirt life jacket that blended a thin layer of kapok sandwiched between layers of neoprene built into a nylon/spandex shirt that also provided UVA sun protection.

    -Lisa Ma, Wayne Chang and Peter Tong of I3 Design in Pittsburgh, PA
    proposed a series of stylish "shirts" made with an inflatable fabric and a transferable C02 inflation kit that kept costs down.

    -Another student, Nicholas Weigel who attends Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI,
    proposed using a two-part foam that expanded to fill clear a buoyancy tube that went around the wearer's neck.

    - The "High Tide PFD" designed by Andrew Valentine, another Virginia Tech student and classmate of Honorable Mention winner, Sean Denham,
    had a sleek, stylish buoyant vest design. High-tech fabrics would keep the body cool and earth-friendly recycled styrene beads were used for flotation and body-conforming comfort.

    - Aqua-Aid," designed by inventor Mario DiForte, Jr. of Baltimore, MD.
    A press of a button inflates a 12" x 13" brightly colored vinyl float that's packed into a small, wrist-worn case.

    See for yourself:
  2. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    Life Jacket/Trapeze Harness

    A few years ago when gettng my boat ready to test I looked for a life jacket that was also a trapeze harness. Couldn't find one anywhere. Seems like such a natural, safe combination.
    A year ago I found a small company in Melbourne ,Fl. producing just this harness/jacket combo. Anybody seen these being offered anywhere else? Anyone tried one?
  3. Atilla
    Joined: May 2006
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    Location: limerick

    Atilla New Member

    crewsaver harness/bouncey aid

    A mate of mine doing some crewing on a trapeze dingy had a harness that coupled as a floatation aid. but he also wore a traditional floatation jacket. when i queried him on it he said the rules didnt like the combination. I think this was as the floation of the harness was mostly located in the back padding and would cause an the wearer when submerged to face down in the water.
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