An innovative piece of low-cost rescue equipment, supported through its development by the RNLI and Bournemouth University, has won one of the first ever HERO awards from the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF).
The first ever IMRF HERO Awards took place this week, and the RNLI came away winners in the technology category, for the International team’s project with concept designer James Benson and the design team from Bournemouth University, with their design for the bottle buoy.
The bottle buoy is an innovative yet simple, sustainable and affordable idea with the potential to save lives in areas where funds for rescue equipment are limited.
It is aimed at low resource communities and can be used as public rescue equipment and for swimming instruction. The device is simple and allows 3 plastic soft drink/water bottles to be attached to a central hub. Instructions and a simple template have been developed to allow the bottle buoy to be produced in local communities using items that can be found easily - discarded plastic drinks bottles are now in abundance in many low resource environments.
Production development and user testing has been undertaken in Bangladesh in partnership with Bournemouth University's Faculty of Science and Technology and the SeaSafe lifeguard service in Cox's Bazar, a joint partnership between the RNLI and the CIPRB (Centre for Injury Prevention, Bangladesh). It has now been tested closer to home too, at the Sea Survival Centre at RNLI College and in the sea off Cromer, Norfolk, with the support of local lifeguard and lifeboat teams. The bottle buoy is now in use in Bangladesh and will undergo further testing before a final resource manual is made available by the RNLI in 2017.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Bruce Reid, CEO at the IMRF, said: 'We have all been impressed and humbled by the quality of the nominations for these awards. We congratulate the winners and thank all the nominees for their selfless commitment to saving lives across the world. 10s of 1,000s of people are rescued every year, the awards are our way of saying thanks to everyone involved in search and rescue.'
Find more information about the three other 2016 HERO award winners here. RNLI media contacts For more information, contact Philly Byrde, PR Officer (International) on 07920 365929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.