Award winning life-saving device for marine rescue

One of the greatest dangers still facing sailors and yachtsmen is falling / going ‘Man Overboard’ (MOB), which is more likely during adverse conditions when a person loses their balance or footing, is washed overboard, or is knocked unconscious and sight of them is quickly lost amid waves, spray or in poor light. Rapid rescue is essential to avoid hyperthermia or drowning and the best chance of this comes from their own boat, or even a nearby one. Their fellow crew need to be aware of the incident immediately and able to track the position of the crew during recovery.

Rescue devices can now make use of the recent ‘AIS’ (automatic identification system) which transmits position and identity to other boats to be displayed on their screens. AIS can also transmit a ‘MOB mayday’ and its GPS position.

Ocean Signal, a company well-respected for marine rescue and communication devices, asked PDD to help develop the world’s smallest personal MOB AIS device. The device needed to be rugged and small enough to be packed inside compact life-jackets and activated when the lifejacket automatically inflates.

We analysed the design of lifejackets and conceived a patented deployment mechanism housed in caseworks up to 30% smaller than the competitors. We sited the MOB device on the life-jacket inflation tube which sits above the water when the lifejacket is inflated.

On inflation, the device automatically releases an aerial that transmits the MOB mayday signal. Once the device is triggered, the manual control buttons become accessible, enabling it to be cancelled in case of accidental deployment and after rescue.

The Ocean Signal MOB1 also features integrated DSC which can raise the alarm on boat VHF radios, a strobe light for maximum visibility in poor light and a compact, rugged housing built to withstand the rigours of outdoor marine use with a 7-year battery life and a 24-hour transmission time.