Contest urges ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking

Last updated: August 23. 2014 5:28AM - 282 Views

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Are you an armchair inventor with a better way to keep boaters, sailors and anglers afloat?


The BoatUS Foundation, along with the Personal Floatation Device Manufacturers Association and the National Marine Manufacturers Association, have teamed up to seek out the newest technologies and design ideas with the “Innovation in Life Jacket Design Competition” which kicks off today.


“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,” said BoatUS Foundation President Chris Edmonston.


A $10,000 cash award goes to the winning designer and inventors have until April 15, 2015, to submit their idea to www.BoatUS.org/design.


“Waterway users are always looking for more comfortable life jackets,” added 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 boat and fishing clubs. There are no rules regarding types of materials to be used or whether the design meets any current US standards. Entries can be as simple as hand-drawn theoretical designs to working prototypes.


The entries will be judged based on four 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 utilization of new technologies. Additionally, the BoatUS Foundation will post entries on their website and Facebook page for public voting.


The winner will be announced at the September 2015 International Boat Builders Exhibition and Conference in Louisville, Ky., and additional cash prizes are offered for second and third place. For information or to enter, visit online at www.BoatUS.org/design.

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