Marine

Houseboat builder turns his attention to tsunami survival pods

Houseboat builder turns his at...
The Tsunami Survival Pod is a watertight, crush-proof capsule designed to allow its users to ride out tsunamis
The Tsunami Survival Pod is a watertight, crush-proof capsule designed to allow its users to ride out tsunamis
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The Tsunami Survival Pod is made from 4mm spiral welded steel, has a crush capacity of four tonnes (4.4 tons), and features impact-absorbing crumple zones
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The Tsunami Survival Pod is made from 4mm spiral welded steel, has a crush capacity of four tonnes (4.4 tons), and features impact-absorbing crumple zones
The Tsunami Survival Pod is a watertight, crush-proof capsule designed to allow its users to ride out tsunamis
2/3
The Tsunami Survival Pod is a watertight, crush-proof capsule designed to allow its users to ride out tsunamis
The Tsunami Survival Pod accommodates four people in five-point harnessed safety seats, and can reportedly hold enough air to last those passengers for two and a half hours
3/3
The Tsunami Survival Pod accommodates four people in five-point harnessed safety seats, and can reportedly hold enough air to last those passengers for two and a half hours
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Australian houseboat builder Matt Duncan was stunned when he saw footage of the Japanese tsunami on television. He was so taken aback, in fact, that he decided to do something to help people survive future tsunamis. The result is his Tsunami Survival Pod (TSP), and you can buy one of your own for AUS$8,500, or about US$8,900.

The floating watertight TSP is made from 4mm spiral welded steel, has a crush capacity of four tonnes (4.4 tons), and features impact-absorbing crumple zones. It accommodates four people in five-point harnessed safety seats, and can reportedly hold enough air to last those passengers for two and a half hours. It has a main hatch and a bottom-mounted secondary hatch (in case it ends up upside-down), both of which open inward to avoid being blocked by external debris. Each of those hatches also feature a one-inch-thick window, to help minimize claustrophobia.

The pod has a streamlined design, to keep it from getting snagged on debris or other objects. Should it avoid all the snags and end up getting washed out to sea, its flashing exterior lights ought to help attract rescuers. Once they find it, its integrated lifting hooks should help it be hoisted by a helicopter or ship-mounted crane.

The Tsunami Survival Pod accommodates four people in five-point harnessed safety seats, and can reportedly hold enough air to last those passengers for two and a half hours
The Tsunami Survival Pod accommodates four people in five-point harnessed safety seats, and can reportedly hold enough air to last those passengers for two and a half hours

Food rations, blankets and safety helmets are also included in the package.

Four small wheels on the bottom allow it to be pushed around by hand on smooth surfaces (such as driveways), and it’s said to be small enough to fit in a typical garage or carport. If you don’t think it’s worth keeping a TSP in your garage on the off chance that you’ll experience a tsunami, however, take note – Duncan says that it can also be used as an earthquake shelter. You also might be interested in checking out the Japanese Noah capsule.

Source: Havana Houseboats via Gold Coast Bulletin

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16 comments
Bob64
This looks much better than the Noah capsule. The inwards opening doors would give a much better chance of getting out. There are still plenty of things that could go wrong, like being burred in debris, but I guess it's better than the alternative, of not having a capsule.
Tom McDonnell
(40+ years working with great apes. 59+ years of living. < 1 year of 'Comments'.) Here's the more than admittedly strange 'connection' between this story and chimpanzees !.... 40 years ago this October i was living briefly on the west coast of Fla. below Tampa, in a town called Oldsmar. Myself and a friend went to visit a place called "The Chimp Farm" owned and operated by a Bob and May Knowles and inhabited by more than a dozen of their ex-"boxing chimpanzees"(Google it), several orangutans and 2 male gorillas. Many of the chimps/apes were housed in converted wheeled tractor trailer cargo holds. It wasn't a very pretty sight though i know the Knowles only meant to do the best they could. I'll talk to anyone about anything and it happens i struck up a conversation with Mrs.Knowles that included the chimps' housing situation. May told me that when she and Bob finally settled down with their apes on the west coast of Fla. she had heard a disturbing story about the devastation a 'Texas generated tsunami' had wrought upon the opposite side of the Gulf of Mexico(to this day i have no idea if that's true ?). It was the fear of a reoccurence that prompted the Knowles to house as many of their apes in the trailer segments as they could. The idea was that if/when they received any sort of advance warning of a Texas/Gulf earthquake, and possible tsunami, they could immediately "CB" radio all their many 'trucker' friends in the area...to come, hitch their '18 wheeler' cabs to the trailers...and drive the trailer housed apes to safety with all due haste. I happened to visit the now late Mrs.Knowles again with another 'friend', Patti Ragan of "The Center for Great Apes", currently located in Wachula, Fla., almost a couple of decades later. Though husband Bob and the "trailer cages" were gone, the then ~80+ year old May Knowles remembered and reiterated her story. (•¿•)›
Pikeman
If all you want the device to do is save you from a tidal wave a passenger hot air balloon tied to a good anchor will do without beating you to death. I'll take a boat that lets me save myself from wherever tsunami leaves me and I'll be able to use the boat for fun as well.
Ct
Glad he was thinking of saving lives, but I'd ventue a guess that the majority of those killed in tsunamis could never afford the $8900 US cost. Maybe the resort motels could for the rich tourist. Nice concept, but see limited practical use.
DaveSpicer
Just a matter of time before someone tries taking one of these over Niagra Falls...
Doc Rock
I live in a tsunami prone area, so I actually think about this a fair bit.. I even thought of something along these lines also.. but after reading "Pikeman's' comment, I just don't see how you could beat a hot air balloon.. what a brilliant idea! But how many folks have one of *these* in their back yard, I am not sure either...
Peter Manbar
Pretty good idea, indeed, but I agree with 'ct' that it's a bit pricey for the population primarily exposed to coastal proximity. That said, I would suggest the innovator adds a transponder that could be activated once occupants are swept away. Skiers, wise skiers that is, who ski avalanche prone outback, wear the same device so rescuers can locate them asap in case they're swept away by a cornice fracture.
Ian McIntosh
Problem with a hot-air balloon is the time taken to prep and launch. If kept ready it would cost a fortune in heating... A better idea would be a helium balloon. Design it like a flotation device. Strap on the vest/harness pull the handle and let a helium balloon inflate and lift the victim clear of the hazard. You could anchor the balloons to a weight, with a 30m or so of line. Enough to clear any event you would want to survive...
Wombat56
As others have said, a little pricy, but it could possibly protect against other forms of disaster as well.
It might supply protection against hurricanes, tornadoes, short term wild fires , maybe earth quakes (falling debris).
Pikeman
re; Ian McIntosh
I assumed having the balloon's fabric prepped over a vertical pipe and a heater/blower (a space heater on steroids) to fill it. But your light gas idea is at least equally good except helium is too leaky and expensive. While methane will require a bigger balloon the gas could be used as fuel after you land. Just as an aside in the US if you are tethered you don't need a license.
re; Wombat56
To protect against hurricanes get an ICE powered vehicle and heed the evacuation order; if you are going to leave the vehicle unused for extended periods investing in a LP Gas or Natural Gas fuel system is a good idea as they are stable over time unlike gasoline which will require adding fuel stabilizers.
Tornado and wild fire shelters are best built under ground and for the wild fire shelter include a big air supply and a good airlock entry; a secondary exit consisting of a vertical concrete pipe with a ladder in it and filled with sand and covered with a bit of sod on top would make it virtually impossible for you to be trapped inside by the heat welding the outer door shut or enemy action. Inspired paranoia is a survival trait.
Earthquakes have too little warning to get to such a shelter in time.