The deadline for design entries with the 2015 Innovations in Life Jacket Design Competition is April 15. The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water and the Personal Floatation Device Manufacturers Association, contest sponsors, encourage boaters, armchair inventors, design, engineering or high-school students to submit designs. The grand prize is $10,000. (Additional cash prizes are offered for second and third place.)
Entries can be as simple as hand-drawn theoretical designs to working prototypes, and there are no rules regarding types of materials to be used or whether the design meets any current US standards.
The design contest entries will be judged based on four criteria: wearability, reliability, cost and innovation. “Wearability” relates to the level of comfort. “Reliability” will take into account the chances for potential failure, while “cost” will look at the affordability of the design. “Innovation” will take into account originality or the utilization of new technologies.
The best entries will be posted on the BoatUS Foundation website and Facebook page for voting by the public in June, and those votes will assist a panel of experts who will pick the winner to be announced at the September 2015 International Boat Builders Exhibition and Conference in Louisville, Ky.