BoatUS hosts Life Jacket Design Competition


Personal flotation devices have been around since 870 B.C. and while they have changed dramatically since that time — from inflatable animal skins to our modern day life jackets — the design has stayed fairly static for about 100 years.

The BoatUS Foundation, along with the Personal Flotation Device Manufactures Association (PFDMA) and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) are teaming up for the “Innovation in Life Jacket Design Competition,” which was launched in August.

The winner of the competition will receive $10,000 in cash, and designers have until April 15, 2015 to submit their designs to

“We believe there are some creative folks out there that can help us rethink a 100-year-old design with fresh, out-of-the-box ideas,” says BoatUS Foundation president Chris Edmonston. “Waterway users are always looking for more comfortable life jackets. 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.”

The competition will hopefully bring about creative designs incorporating new technologies. There are no rules regarding the type of materials used, and the designs don’t necessarily have to meet current US standards. Entries will be judged on wearability, reliability cost and innovation.

BoatUS will post entries on its website and Facebook page for public voting.

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