Anyone who has crewed on a racing yacht can tell you it can be a hard, thrilling, and potentially dangerous ride. With 2017 America's Cup racers expected to reach speed of up to 50 knots (57 mph, 92 km/h), getting a serious injury can be as easy as falling overboard, so Italy's Dainese Group is teaming with Emirates Team New Zealand to develop a new Sea-Guard life jacket that incorporates Dainese's D-Air automatic airbag technology that inflates special airbags when potentially dangerous situations are detected.

According to the company, the move into the field of cutting-edge sailing is a logical progression for the brand, which is famous for creating protective sports gear for racing motorcyclists and skiing competitors as well as collaborating with MIT and NASA on new safety suit designs for astronauts.

Since the Sea-Guard is still in the early stages of development, few details are available, though as a life jacket that's fully ergonomic and allows the wearer to move with a large degree of freedom, it is likely to include some form of inflatable flotation device as well as the airbag system to guard against dangerous impacts, like a suddenly shifting boom or being thrown against a bulkhead. In addition, it will have to comply with US Coast Guard and other regulatory requirements.

"The foiling AC50 catamarans that will be raced in the next America's Cup are flying machines, the most advanced yachts in terms of technology and performance," says Max Sirena, former Italian Challenger, Luna Rossa Skipper and current Technical Advisor and member of Emirates Team New Zealand's Management. "These boats will be able to reach speeds never seen before. Safety on board became therefore fundamental in our preparation."

The new partnership was announced at the EICMA 2016 Motorcycling World Exhibition.

The video below introduces Sea Guard.

View gallery - 5 images