Today we announced the U.S. Coast Guard Phase I winners: 5 bold visions of boater safety solutions that have the potential to improve the chances of a successful rescue. We received submissions harnessing technologies such as smart watches, LED lights, thermal heating devices, and fluorescent gels, as well as re-designed consumer products such as phone cases.

Our 32-person judging panel, with expertise in design, search and rescue, marine safety, boating industry manufacturing, and recreational boating, evaluated the submissions and recommended five monetary prize winners and 16 honorable mention award winners. Each prize winner will receive $5,000.

Congratulations to the 5 prize winning submissions!

  • A “Detection Kite” ZipperPull (Bay Sea Scouts Inc.): An aluminum-coated kite that reflects USCG radar and can be seen above waves from 5-7 miles away. It clips onto a lifejacket in a pouch and can also help retain body heat if used as a head covering.
  • AdventureSafe Public Safety Platform and the RaftUp App (RaftUp Technologies Inc.):  A free mobile app that allows a person in distress to share exact GPS coordinates with the Coast Guard via its SMART SOS feature. The app integrates with public safety software, AdventureSafe, which enables the USCG to track first responders.
  • Personal Deployment Beacon (Fusion Tactical): A white LED light, attached to a self-inflating helium balloon, that strobes above waves and reflects on the water’s surface. The balloon is attached to a lifejacket in a pouch, or directly to the arm as a sleeve, and releases and inflates with only one pull.
  • Personal Flotation Devices equipped with Infrared and Radar Beacons (Pallas LLC): A $1 lifejacket patch equipped with a long-range radio-frequency ID tag for easy detection by search radars. The patch material glows brightly so search and rescue helicopters with infrared sensors can detect a person during the day and at night.
  • Safety Beans Tracking and Rescue System (Nautical Beans Inc.): A radio system comprised of a base station and up to 32 trackable waterproof watches (called “Safety Beans”) and attachable tags (called “Safety Buds”). The system works without a GPS, and can track the Safety Beans and Safety Buds up to 5 miles from the base station and when submerged in water.

Honorable mention award winners:

  • AirFlare Search Technology (Vector Flight LLC)
  • Capsize Caddy (Ishaan Dayal)
  • Day/Night Emergency Signaling Streamer (SEE/RESCUE Corporation)
  • Enhanced Detection Method using Integrated Near-IR LED’s with PFD’s and other Marine Safety Equipment (Sang C. Park)
  • EVAD: Extended Visibility Aerial Device (Jon Geary)
  • FindMe System (Merideth Bastiani, Steven M. Polunsky, Angi English, Andre Billeaudeaux, Greg Bernard, Michael Larranaga, William Pilkington)
  • Lightbug SOS Locator (Mohamad Al Husari, Chris Guest, David Guest)
  • Lumenus: Life-Saving Smart Safetywear (Lumenus LLC)
  • Man Overboard Device (Shawn P. Smith)
  • Personal Radar Beacon (Brad Bock Aeronautic LLC)
  • Reflective Balloon (Michael J. Voelker)
  • Rescue Check (Aharon Robert Williamson)
  • Rescue Tracer (Nicholas Christ, Eric Rigel, Stefan Varga, Andy Halavonich)
  • SeaMe Safety Tag (Robert Olesen, Mohamed Ali)
  • Thermally Enhanced MOB Signal Aerostat (Lawrence Husick)
  • Visual Extender for PFD (MaryAnne Davis, Erick Rios)

All winners are invited to participate in Phase II of the competition, where they can pitch their solution in a “Piranha Pool” to compete for a total prize pool of $120,000. The Phase II prize pool will assist Phase II winners in developing their concept into a working prototype.

In Phase III, the Coast Guard will field test prototypes alongside standard USCG-approved safety equipment. At the conclusion of Phase III, the judging panel will award a total of $110,000 in additional monetary prizes.