(ROZELLE, Australia) — The International Convention for the Safety of Lives at Sea (SOLAS) states commercial vessels must carry life rafts.
In the majority of mass marine disasters globally, life rafts have been on board the vessels, but people either didn’t know how to deploy the rafts or the life rafts were not accessible.
Australian company Rescue & Survival Group has designed a life raft inflation system that eliminates any human factors and any accessibility issues. The invention relies on the life raft’s slight submersion to activate, become erect and perform its designed function — to save and preserve life.
On Jan. 13, 2012, 32 lives were lost when the Costa Concordia, carrying 4,252 people, capsized and sank at Isola del Giglio, Tuscany. It was reported that there were issues launching the lifeboats and life rafts. The cause was the angle of the ship, which immediately started listing at 20 degrees. At that angle, the lifeboats on one side of the ship were fully functional but their path to the sea was blocked by the promenade deck directly below.
Investigation of mass marine disasters worldwide has determined a major contributor to mass casualty accidents is the inability for large scale life raft deployment from large vessels.
Rescue & Survival Group has developed a solution with their new water-activated life raft inflation system.
Rescue & Survival Group’s patented system will allow ship captains and operators to no longer rely on trained deck staff to launch life rafts, nor will it require crew access. Both these problems were heavily correlated in the aftermath of the Costa Concordia and Sewol (South Korean ferry) disasters.
Rescue & Survival Group's patent enables life rafts to be launched by untrained personnel or passengers by means of simply pushing the contained life raft into the water. If the life rafts are inaccessible, such as when the vessel lists or the life raft becomes slightly submerged, the lift raft will begin to inflate, breaking free of its mount to erect itself in the water, awaiting survivors to board.
Rescue & Survival Group’s design enables life rafts to be deployed via any means, land, sea or air and are designed for use on board maritime, defense and aviation craft. The life rafts can also be deployed remotely into the water where they will activate once slightly submerged and are immediately ready for use.
A life raft is of no use until it is in the water, with our patent simply push the complete packed life raft into the water and it will activate ready for its intended function.
For more information on the new design, and on the Costa Concordia and Sewol disasters, go to rescueandsurvival.com.