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 which deploys as soon as the wearer hits the water. The helium gas lifts the balloon on a tether above the person to a height easily seen by searchers. A strobe attached to the balloon provides additional visibility in cloudy weather or at night. This simple solution can be combined with other location methods and is applicable to both civilian and military use.
- Water-activated deployment requires no action from the wearer who may be injured or unconscious
- Balloon is fitted with a strobe light for increased visibility
- US patent 9,656,733 available for license