BoatUS Announces Lifejacket Design Competition

Are you an armchair inventor with a better way to keep boaters, sailors and anglers afloat? The “Innovation in Life Jacket Design Competition”  is calling for out-of-the-box lifejacket design entries. Contestants have until February 1 to submit their idea.

The BoatUS Foundation, along with Underwriters Laboratories and the Personal Floatation Device Manufacturers Association, have teamed up to seek out the newest technologies and design innovations that could rethink a 100-year-old design. “The interest in new, more comfortable designs are always important to waterway users,” said BoatUS Vice President of Boating Safety Chris Edmonston. “While current models of life jackets save lives every day, many are still bulky and uncomfortable, leaving boaters reluctant to wear them. This competition hopes to challenge that mindset.”

Entries that embrace new technologies and non-traditional thinking are being encouraged from individuals or groups, such as high school science clubs, collegiate design programs or even boating and fishing clubs. There are no rules regarding types of materials to be used or whether the design meets any current U.S. standards.

The entries will be judged based on 4 criteria: wearability, reliability, cost and innovation. “Wearability” relates to the level of comfort. “Reliability” will take into account the chances for potential failure, while “cost” will look at the affordability of the design. “Innovation” will take into account originality or the employment of new technologies.

In early February, video of all entries will be posted online at the BoatUS Foundation’s channel at YouTube.com, and the public will be asked to select a group of finalists. The finalist entries will then be reviewed by a special panel of judges convened at the International Boating and Water Safety Summit in Savannah, Georgia, on March 6-9, 2011, and the winner announced. A $5,000 cash award will be given to the winning designer.

To enter, video footage of an actual working prototype must be submitted by providing a URL link to the video (no actual prototypes are submitted). The video must clearly demonstrate how the design floats a person in the water.

For contest rules:

BoatUS Contest Rules

For other information about the contest:

BoatUS Foundation

Chris Edmonston at 703-823-9550, x 8356.

Is this a contest that you might enter and why?

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