Marine

Wearable inflatable SeeArch pops up for open-water rescues

Wearable inflatable SeeArch po...
The SeeArch protrudes 5 feet (1.5 m) above the user, making them more visible to rescuers
The SeeArch protrudes 5 feet (1.5 m) above the user, making them more visible to rescuers
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The SeeArch protrudes 5 feet (1.5 m) above the user, making them more visible to rescuers
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The SeeArch protrudes 5 feet (1.5 m) above the user, making them more visible to rescuers
The SeeArch is made of tough 210 denier ballistic nylon, and incorporates retroreflective patches at the top for night-time searchlight visibility
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The SeeArch is made of tough 210 denier ballistic nylon, and incorporates retroreflective patches at the top for night-time searchlight visibility
The SeeArch provides 30 lb (14 kg) of floatation, although it's not intended to replace a personal floatation device
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The SeeArch provides 30 lb (14 kg) of floatation, although it's not intended to replace a personal floatation device
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If you should become separated from your solo sailboat, kayak or other watercraft out on the open sea, staying afloat isn't the only challenge – you also have to be seen by your rescuers. That's where the wearable, inflatable SeeArch is made to come in.

Created by Canadian entrepreneur Neil Darroch, the SeeArch is intended to be worn along with a third-party personal floatation device. When not deployed, it sits stuffed inside a fanny pack-like pouch that is worn around the user's waist.

Should that person fall overboard and not be able to get back to their vessel, they reach down and yank a rip cord on the pouch. This causes an integrated CO2 cartridge to rapidly inflate the arch itself, which pops out of the pouch and floats at the surface – it remains attached to the pouch via a short tether.

The arch is deployed in eight seconds, forming a highly-visible 5-foot (1.5-m) yellow triangle that sticks up in the air above the user. It's made of tough 210 denier ballistic nylon, and incorporates retroreflective patches at the top for night-time searchlight visibility.

Once help arrives, the wearer puts their head and shoulders through the bottom of the arch, with their arms out over the sides. The rescuers are then able to grab the arch at the top, using it as a sling to pull the user up out of the water.

The SeeArch provides 30 lb (14 kg) of floatation, although it's not intended to replace a personal floatation device
The SeeArch provides 30 lb (14 kg) of floatation, although it's not intended to replace a personal floatation device

Additionally, if the user needs periodic breaks from hanging mostly immersed in the cold water, they can push the arch over so it's sitting flat on the surface – they can then use it sort of like a swimming pool air mattress, so they're lying horizontally with their arms and legs over the sides. Of course, they'll have to get off when they see that an aircraft or boat is in the area, so the arch flips back upright.

After each use, the arch is deflated and stuffed back in the pouch, and the CO2 cartridge gets replaced.

There are two models of the SeeArch – the relatively light and sleek Sport, along with the heavier-duty Mariner. They're priced at CAD$199 and $219, respectively (about US$153 and $169), and can be ordered via the Source link below.

You can see the device in use, in the following video.

Source: SeeArch

SeeArch - Always With You

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4 comments
nick101
Great idea! It's bad enough falling in the lake, drowning because they can't see you would suck big-time. I'm actually going to get one of these!
Alan Rogers
This is the kind of thinking that wins, not only awards, (and rightly so), but also the hearts of those who spend time near or on waters all over the world. Thanks for adding "smarts" to the world. I see enough of the "other" mentality every day on the news. This invention should be required as an add-on on every safety floatation devise on Earth. Great job. One Thought, Perhaps add a spring-loaded flag that can catch the breeze. I say this, as a static device is hard to see under certain conditions. A Flag, waving in the wind, especially a brightly colored one, attracts the human eye to the movement better. Our eyes developed as those of a hunter. Under low light conditions we can see movement better than details, but in this case, that is all that's needed.
MemoriaTechnica
Excellent idea! One suggestion for open water versions; add a simple canopy flap that could be unrolled to cover the wearer's head and protect them from the scorching sun. It could make all the difference in the world if their stranded hours or even for days. It would also have the added benefit of being more visible for easier spotting.
Nobody
A layer of metal foil would also make this visible to radar. I have often been in waves large enough that two 25 foot fly bridge boats couldn't see each other half the time at 500 yards apart.