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Douglas Frank Bolton, 53, died Sept. 16, 2018, surrounded by his family at his home in Metlakatla. He was born Aug.
9/8/2018
A better way to find an overboard person? Coast Guard challenge seeks innovators to design effective gear

KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The U.S. Coast Guard has launched a $255,000 'Ready for Rescue Challenge' to develop new boater safety solutions that would help make finding people in the water easier.

The issue is that a person who’s in the water and separated from a watercraft can be isolated and difficult to locate in open waters, according to a Friday announcement from the Coast Guard.

While a personal flotation device keeps a person afloat, searchers can take hours trying to locate the individual.

“Boater safety solutions that harness new designs and technologies can improve the chance of a successful rescue,” said William N. Bryan, of the Department of Homeland Security. “New, innovative solutions are critical. We are proud to support our nation’s maritime first responder with this important, life-saving effort.”

The three-phase challenge effort is starting with a call for concepts. The concepts could include a new or updated life jacket or PFD, an attachment to a life jacket or PFD, or an additional device for boaters, according to the announcement.

“The best concepts will be effective, affordable, and hold the potential for wide adoption by recreational boaters,” the announcement states.

Up to five monetary prize winners from Phase 1 will share a $25,000 distribution.

Selected participants from Phase I will participate in a “Piranha Pool” to pitch their solution and compete for a total prize pool of $120,000, which would assist each monetary prize winner in developing a working prototype.

In Phase 3, the Coast Guard will field-test prototypes alongside standard Coast Guard approved safety equipment, according to the announcement. The judging panel may award a total of $110,000 in additional monetary prizes.

Interested parties should submit their concept by 4:59 p.m., Eastern Time on Oct. 15.

The Coast Guard Research and Development Center is partnering with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate for the effort.

 “The U.S. Coast Guard is devoted to helping boaters in distress," said Coast Guard RDC Executive Director Bert Macesker. "One critical challenge is finding people in the water. Partnering with DHS S&T allows us to increase the Coast Guard’s access to innovations that make people in the water more detectable.”  

Further information is available on the challenge website at www.readyforrescuechallenge.com.