A Leap Forward?
Accidental drowning after slipping through the guard rail and being towed face-down at the end of a two-metre tether has been the subject of considerable debate.
In response to this problem TeamO Marine developed a ‘BackTow’ lifejacket that towed face-up, receiving widespread acclaim in 2013 for innovation.
An ‘A-frame’ clips as standard to a front loop on the harness and runs up the lifejacket to a point behind the neck. It releases manually under load, similar to that of a parachute ripcord.
Working with Crewsaver and Artemis AC, TeamO Marine have developed an improved ‘MkII BackTow’ including a personal AIS pocket and optional AutoLock Tether (“a seatbelt for the sea”).
AutoLock’s lightweight reel self-adjusts tether length when moving around the deck. Any fall is immediately arrested, after which the pressure is eased and the reel starts working again.
BackTow MkII lifejackets with optional AutoLock tether are due on the market by autumn 2018.