We're getting excited about the upcoming holiday weekend that will find us indulging some rest, relaxation and riding the open seas. As we plan for our mini break, we're asking the question, "To PFD or not PFD?" A PFD or Personal Flotation Device is typically noted for its bulk and brightness and this combination tends to deter boaters from wearing it, increasing the chances of drowning should an accident arise.
Kathleen Westerhout and Dana Ramler noted that the current belt pack, which was developed by Mustang Survival to change perceptions of PFD use, could use a fashionable face lift. Their concept, known as The Bandeau Belt, is targeted to the female boater and adds a measure of fashion to the flotation device so as to encourage safe boating practices for the seafaring woman.
During the course of this collaborative project, Westerhout and Ramler worked with a team of engineers and designers at Mustang to ensure the belt met all Coast Guard certifications in order to be assessed for consumer use in the future. How it works
In the case of an emergency, the user pulls the tab to release a CO2 canister, which will inflate the bladder within the belt. As it expands, the bladder is forced through a breakout zipper along the bottom seam. The user can then place the fully inflated device over her head. Yellow webbing attaches it to the housing so it doesn't float away and the mouthpiece can be used to moderate air pressure to a comfortable level. After one use, the canister can be replaced and the bladder is re-packed into the housing - ready to be worn again.
Photo credit: Mark Stokoe