One of the greatest dangers still facing sailors and yachtsmen is going ‘Man Overboard’ (MOB) in bad weather, fog or the dark. They are often knocked unconscious, sight of them is lost and rapid rescue is essential to avoid hyperthermia or drowning.
The best chance of this is from their own boat or one nearby, so crew need to be alerted and able to track their position.
Rescue devices can now use the recent ‘AIS’ (automatic identification system) which transmits an MOB ‘Mayday’, position and identity to other boats for display on their plotter screens.
Ocean Signal, a company well-respected for marine rescue and communication devices, asked PDD to help develop the world’s smallest automatic personal MOB AIS device. It needed to be rugged and small enough to be packed inside life-jackets and activated when the life jacket inflates.
We analysed life jackets and conceived a patented deployment mechanism housed in caseworks 30% smaller than others.
We placed the MOB device on the life-jacket inflation tube which sits above water when deployed. On inflation, the MOB device is also triggered, releasing an aerial, transmitting Mayday with GPS position, calling on DSC VHF radio and strobing a light. Once triggered, a manual cancel button become accessible to use once rescued.
The lightweight, compact, rugged housing is built to withstand the rigours of outdoor marine use and to be on standby for 7 years to raise an alarm for 24 hours. It has won several marine industry awards.
The Ocean Signal team asked PDD to research, invent and develop an automatically-deploying personal location beacon and then to develop the industrial design and mechanical engineering to the point of specification for tooling.
Helped by our keen yachtsmen, our usability know-how and our expertise in rugged engineering, the ‘MOB1’ is the result.
As your life jacket inflates, it gains your GPS position, then broadcasts a MAYDAY signal on the AIS and DSC VHF. It was launched in 2014 to widespread market acclaim, winning the Grand Prize in the Fisheries Supply’s InNEWvation awards and was nominated at METS.