Sustainable lifesaving equipment

Drowning overwhelmingly affects countries with the fewest resources to prevent it. Many communities and organisations struggle because they don’t have access to the rescue equipment they need.

We’re working with communities, designers, academics, manufacturers and lifesaving organisations worldwide to develop lifesaving kit that can be made and used where resources are scarce.

Bangladesh class room and students, teacher showing low cost equipment Bottle Ring

Photo: Darren Williams

Bottle Ring in classroom, Bangladesh. 

This intervention focuses on low-cost, sustainable lifesaving equipment that can be produced at a community, regional and global level. The equipment resources below are available for anyone to use but should only be used if a compliant product to a relevant standard is not affordable or attainable in the community.

Bottle Ring

A simple-to-produce fabric ring that holds three, 2-litre drinks bottles and gives a similar buoyancy to a plastic life ring. The bottle ring costs as little as 50p, in contrast to the £40 cost of a life-ring that we would use in the UK and Ireland. We have produced instructions that communities can use to manufacture their own, downloadable here

Bangladesh boys playing football in river with Bottle Ring on stand, with instructions

Photo: GMB Akash

Low Cost Equipment Bottle Ring and Stand

Rescue Throwline

Throwlines are a vital piece of rescue equipment, keeping the user from entering the water and putting themselves at risk during a rescue. Current options are too expensive (about £30 each) so we’ve worked with The Little Sewing Company, Arts University Bournemouth and communities in Bangladesh and Tanzania to design a version that can be produced locally at a fraction of the cost, downloadable here. The rescue throwline manual should be used with guidance from the RNLI Flood safety manual, also found on the resources page.

Flood Rescue trainer in Bangladesh ready to deploy a rescue throwline by river.

Photo: Mike Lavis

Low Cost Equipment Throwline

Rescue Board

We have worked with SeaSafe Lifeguard Md. Alamgir to design a process for making rescue boards in the community. We have produced a manual which provides step-by-step instructions on how to build a rescue board in a low-resource setting, including all the materials and equipment needed, downloadable here.

Lifeguard Alamgir with a rescue board he made from recycled materials

Photo: RNLI/Harrison Bates

SeaSafe Lifeguard Alamgir with one of the rescue boards he made from recycled materials.

Casualty Recovery

Bournemouth University student Michael Davies worked on an RNLI brief to design a device to recover a person from the water onto a fishing boat. Tanzania Sea Rescue are testing the device, which has also been on show at the UK New Designers exhibition.

Tanzania Sea Rescue testing a casualty recovery device on the side of a boat at sea

Photo: RNLI

Tanzania Sea Rescue helping to test a casualty recovery device.

Our international vision is of a world in which no-one should drown. Could you help us towards this vision?

Donate today