Innovating Life Jackets

June 2015 Industry

The BoatUS Foundation, the Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association (PFDMA) and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) have joined forces to find new technologies and design ideas for lifejackets.

“Waterway users are always looking for more comfortable life jackets,” says BoatUS Foundation President 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.”

They believe there are creative folks out there who can innovate a century-old design. There are no rules regarding types of materials to be used or whether the design meets any current US standards; entries will be judged based on wearability, reliability, cost, and innovation, and can be as simple as hand-drawn theoretical designs to working prototypes. The competition window closed April 15th and the judges will be busily evaluating all the submissions to choose the winners. A $10,000 cash award goes to the winning designer with additional cash prizes offered for second and third place. The winning inventors will be announced at the 2015 IBEX Exhibition & Conference in Louisville, Ky., this September. (

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