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Finding a person or floating life preserver overboard is a difficult task which gets exponentially more difficult in rough water where waves easily obscure an object and create visual distortions.
Current life preserver location aids include dye-markers, flashing beacons, and radio or satellite transmitters. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. Markers and light beacons do not provide adequate visibility in the choppy water, and radio or satellite solutions suffer from technology risks.
But visual identification is still 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 applies to both civilian and military use.
- Increases the visibility of a life saving floatation device to both a rescue ship and a person in the water
- Water activated deployment
- Balloon is fitted with a strobe light for increased visibility
- US patent 9,656,733 available for license