New class of wearable PFD incorporating life jacket and tethered raft is ready for international use as an IMO compliant personal life-saving appliance
Survivor+™, Cobham Life Support's new wearable personal overboard survival system, has received a certificate of compliance from Lloyd's Register. To achieve the required standard, Survivor+ successfully completed all the materials and performance testing required under the IMO Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code, Section II, which allows it to be recognized internationally by the commercial maritime and offshore oil and gas industries as an IMO compliant personal life-saving appliance.
A significant step-change in worker safety, Survivor+ incorporates a SOLAS-approved inflatable life jacket and a tethered, military-qualified, personal life raft into a single compact vest. The integration of the life vest and raft, using Cobham's own vacuum-packing technology, is so ground-breaking, that no specific SOLAS category exists for it. Recognizing this, Cobham Life Support submitted Survivor+ for extensive laboratory and performance testing procedures witnessed by Lloyd's Register Surveyors. The successful testing resulted in a certificate of compliance for the system by Lloyd's Register, under IMO Resolution A.520 (13) for Personal Life-Saving Appliances. This IMO resolution was created to facilitate the evaluation, testing and acceptance of newly-developed products that do not fit into existing categories under SOLAS, "but which will provide the same or higher safety standards".
The Lloyd's Register Group, one of the world leaders in assessing business processes and products to internationally recognized standards, was represented at a recent Survivor+ demonstration in Southampton, UK. Technical Manager, Fire & Safety, Bruce McDonald said: "Lloyd's Register was pleased to have issued Cobham a certificate of compliance for the Survivor+ product because Lloyd's Register believes Survivor+ provides a definite improvement to safety at sea."
Don Blackman, Engineering Research Manager, at Cobham Life Support, said: "This hard-earned statement of compliance is a major milestone that tells the world Survivor+ has successfully passed rigorous safety testing and is ready for use.
"Survivor+ represents such an innovative approach to enhanced survivability that we are really breaking new ground. The life jacket is SOLAS-approved, but it is the integration of the life raft that makes this such a unique product for which no category currently exists. Due to Cobham's development of Survivor+, we anticipate the creation of a new SOLAS category in the future, but this will be driven by proof of its ability to save lives in the field. The key point is that everyone on board a vessel who is already required to wear a SOLAS-approved life jacket can now use Survivor+, which is a complete survival system that includes a personal life raft with their life jacket."
Cobham Life Support, part of Cobham plc's Cobham Mission Systems division, is an established safety systems market leader in the defense sector, acting as a single source supplier to government organizations. The company's experience over 20 years in developing military survival gear and person-mounted safety devices for pilots and naval deck crews has been instrumental in the development of the Survivor+ concept.
Although there is currently no IMO or ISO category for a single-person life raft integrated with a life jacket, the qualified, military version of Survivor+, the LRU-23P raft, has been in use by both the UK and US military since 2004 and has proved in tests to be highly effective in maintaining the core body temperature of its occupants under extreme environmental conditions.
The new enhanced version of the military raft intrinsic to Survivor+ has been designed to ensure it is very intuitive and easy to use for non-military people, with minimal or no training. Additional features include vacuum-packing, water activated or manual inflation, additional CO² cartridge for the canopy inflation, and a single-pull canopy zipper.