PHOTO TOP RIGHT, JON DEUTSCH: WWW.JDEUTSCH.COM
competition. More than 180 entries, con-
sisting of actual and conceptual designs,
were submitted from around the world
with the top prize of $5,000 going to
an inflatable design submitted by Adam
Malcolm, who was a graduate student in
the University of Virginia’s Mechanical
and Aerospace Engineering Program. “The
competition was a huge success,” said
Ruth Wood, president of the Foundation,
and past member of the UL Standards
Committee. “It really helped drive the push
to bring more innovation into the market.
Many of the designs presented simply
wouldn’t meet the current U.S. standards
for an approved life jacket, but that doesn’t
mean that they couldn’t save your life in an
In 2011, the Foundation is again
partnering with the PFDMA, as well as
UL, to host a second life jacket competi-
tion. In this iteration, only actual working
models will be considered; no theoretical
designs, as in the 2005 contest, will be
allowed. Applications are being accepted
until February 1. For information, visit
In addition to sponsoring the con-
test, designed to see what new features
and technologies are being developed,
the BoatU.S. Foundation will also test
currently available life jackets that are not Coast Guard approved in order to see the strengths and weaknesses of these less familiar products, and measure how their performance stacks up against jackets that carry U.S. approval. The Foundation has conducted several tests of approved life jackets for our Foundation Findings series over the years. If your favorite life jacket is currently commercially manufactured and not USCG approved, please share details with us by the end of March at boatingsafety@ BoatUS.com. We’ll be testing jackets in late spring with the goal of finding practical
jackets that boaters will wear.
A racing sailor wearing an unapproved jacket.
This nonprofit 501(c)( 3) organization is
devoted to generating ideas and projects
that keep boaters safer, and our environment protected. The Foundation is independently funded by donations from organizations and individuals, and by grants.
A 2005 Life Jacket Design Competition entrant.
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