Navy

Life preserver locator system

Simple solution to a life or death situation

Military Technology

Even in relatively calm water, individuals are difficult to spot.

Finding a man overboard is a difficult task which gets exponentially more difficult in rough water where waves easily obscure the head of an individual and create visual distortions for those seeking the lost person. Current life preserver location aids include dye-markers, flashing beacons, and radio or satellite transmitters. Each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Markers and light beacons do not provide adequate visibility in choppy water and radio or satellite solutions suffer from technology risks. Line of sight is the ideal spotting method which is greatly enhanced by this Navy invention.

The life preserver locator system consists of a water-activated balloon and inflation system. When the life preserver is deployed the salt water activated system inflates a balloon which emits a strobe-light pattern. The person in the ocean can then more easily see where the life preserver is located, and make their way to the attached floatation device. When the person in the water reaches the life preserver they can then flip a switch which changes the illumination pattern on the balloon indicating to a rescue ship that the person has found the life preserver.

This simple solution can be combined with other location methods and is applicable to both civilian and military use.

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