BoatUS Rolls Out Build a Better Life Jacket Contest

marketing planlife jacket design competitionInnovation in Life Jacket Design Competition seeks newest innovations and design ideas for life jackets

The BoatUS Foundation has teamed up with Personal Floatation Device Manufacturers Association (PFDMA) and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) to seek out the newest technologies and design ideas with the “Innovation in Life Jacket Design Competition”.

Kicking off on August 21, 2014, the design competition will run through April 15, 2015 and award the winning designer and inventor with $10,000.

According to BoatUS Foundation President Chris Edmonston, the design competition seeks to tap into the creativity of designers and inventors “to help rethink a 100-year-old design with fresh, out of the box ideas.”

“Waterway users are always looking for more comfortable life jackets,” added Edmonston. “While current models of life jackets save lives every day, many are still bulky and uncomfortable, leaving boaters reluctant to wear them. This competition hopes to challenge that mindset.”

The entries will be judged based on four criteria:

  1. Wearability – How comfortable is the life jacket? (e.g. Does it restrict movement? Would a boater be likely to wear it because it is less bulky or more comfortable than other jackets available today?)
  2. Reliability – Does it work every time? Are there any chances for potential failures? Does wearer have to do something to make it work or does it function autonomously?
  3. Cost – What is the expected pricing? Is it affordable for the average boater? (A retail price point of under $25-$30 is encouraged, but not mandatory).
  4. Innovation – How creative or original is the solution? Are any new technologies or materials being utilized?

In addition to judging, the BoatUS Foundation will post entries on their website and Facebook page for public voting, which will count toward 25% of the overall score.

The $10,000 first place winner will be announced at the September 2015 International Boat Builders Exhibition and Conference in Louisville, Kentucky and additional cash prizes are offered for second and third place. The first runner up will received $3,000, and the second runner up will receive $2,000.

For more information or to enter visit

The competition is open to anyone – professionals, amateurs and students alike. Additionally, teams and groups are encouraged to apply. Submitted designs must not be products that are commercially available or approved by any governing authority or testing facility. See the contest official rules for full details on requirements.

The following two tabs change content below. provides occasional coverage on marine marketing newsworthy events and other updates that offer marine marketing opportunities to grow businesses in boating. If you are interested in a profile, please see our sponsored post opportunities.