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Mae West Lifeboat Vest

  [vote for,

Looks like a standard lifejacket but when inflated on hitting the water, it opens up into a two-hulled dinghy for the wearer to float away on. Mae West dinghies can be hooked together to form convoys and attract attention from search and rescue helicopters.

No more worries about women and children being first to the lifeboats, no one will need lifeboats.

Phrontistery, Aug 25 2012

Vaguely inspired by Take_20the_20women_...20and_20children_27
[Phrontistery, Aug 25 2012]

Sheepish enough? http://www.licensin...xl.jpg?i=1243510470
[Phrontistery, Aug 27 2012]

Mayo clinic http://www.news-med...005/05/02/9687.aspx
Genetic defect in drownings [4and20, Aug 27 2012]

Hydrophobic foam buoys http://www.smh.com....20101005-1669r.html
[4and20, Aug 28 2012]


       So, no actual resemblance to Mae West?
not_morrison_rm, Aug 25 2012

       So, is there a tag on it that says, "...why don't you come up and inflate me some time?..."
Grogster, Aug 25 2012

       So, it's a one person inflatable life raft, without all the survival gear that's normally in an inflatable life raft?
MechE, Aug 25 2012

       If you look closely, he didn't say that. There's nothing in there about actually being able to move under your own power while wearing one of these.   

       As long as it "looks like a standard lifejacket", the fact that it's 86 kilos doesn't violate the parameters of the idea.
8th of 7, Aug 25 2012

       It only has to be big enough to keep the wearer out of the water so where did 86 kilos come from? Nor does it need survival gear, it's not designed to keep the wearer alive at sea for months.
Phrontistery, Aug 26 2012

       I don't think Mae West was famous for the size of her lips.
ytk, Aug 26 2012

       There was a British study which suggested even strong swimmers don't survive long if they remain in the water, so [+]
4and20, Aug 26 2012

       //swimmers don't survive long if they remain in the water   

       That's the problem, without the water, they aren't really swimmers. They are just people standing around sheepishly wearing underwear and goggles.
not_morrison_rm, Aug 26 2012

       Sheep goggles? Is that like beer goggles?
4and20, Aug 27 2012

       Naw mate, they is jus' not exsshpensive goggles.
AusCan531, Aug 27 2012

       //Sheep goggles?   

       there are any number of jokes about rustic life in there somewhere..
not_morrison_rm, Aug 27 2012

       Keeping swimmers out of the water will keep them alive longer, but without the radio beacon and basic survival supplies in a typical life raft, you aren't going to have that much more luck being rescued.   

       I'm curious if anyone has done studies on how many people in recent shipwrecks make it to the water but die because they can't get in a raft. I suspect it's not that high. Lately the deaths tend to be people who are trapped aboard the ship. Since the titanic ships have carried more than adequate rafts, and many of them are inflatables that pack down into a fairly tight space.
MechE, Aug 27 2012

       Edit: My CDC stats were for children. 84% who drowned were not wearing a lifejacket. (I always wear a lifejacket over my head)   

       Also, the Mayo clinic once found a genetic defect that "causes the heart's electrical system to malfunction" in drownings. [link]
4and20, Aug 27 2012

       Then the correct action would be to require adequate life rafts on recreational craft.   

       It simply comes down to my belief that you couldn't pack an adequate volume of life raft into something the size (and wearability) of a life jacket.   

       There's also the fact that theoretically, a life jacket is completely passive. Modern ones, at least, are designed to keep a passive/unconcious person floating on their back. Even if the raft is somehow designed to inflate automatically during immersion (and I can imagine the sort of problems that would result during heavy waves or similar), the person will still have to climb into it or at least adjust their position inside of it.
MechE, Aug 27 2012

       I'm wondering, in a peripheral way, if someone could get that guy who's trying to remake the Titanic to just take all the steel and dump it directly onto the seabed as it'll cut-out the middle-man in a manner of speaking...
not_morrison_rm, Aug 28 2012

       If lifejackets where made of hydrophobic foam like the [link], they could probably expand enough to make you float entirely above water no matter which side you landed on.
4and20, Aug 28 2012

       > my belief that you couldn't pack an adequate volume of life raft into something the size (and wearability) of a life jacket.   

       It's not a matter of science, it's now a matter of expense and engineering. And figuring out what happens when 400 boat sized life jackets activate within 1 foot of each-other
Voice, Aug 28 2012

       Let's say to support a human completely out of water, you need to displace seven cubic feet (a little high for almost every one, but a decent starting number, with some safety for the idiot who won't let go of his bowling ball. That would take a sphere with a surface area of 17 ft^2. If we start with reasonably durable material (rubberized canvas or similar, 1/16" thick, I'd like thicker, but I'll take this), the vest would have to be 153in^3 just for the walls. Of course since the person in question can't ride a sphere comfortably, we have to have more material to get a decent shape. As best as I can estimate, you're going to need 4-6x the volume to get a raft shape. And even then I'm assuming 100% packing efficiency, which is not actually possible.   

       At a reasonably comfortable 1" thick, it could probably be (barely) packed into an adult sized life vest. Of course, that lets out the inflator, which, admittedly only adds about 16^3 for a trigger and sufficient CO2 to inflate. Then there's the outer layer that keeps the vest from inflating until needed, and the pull tabs and similar. Then there's the EPIRB and batteries.   

       So it may be feasible, but it's going to be right on the hairy edge, and you're going to have to different sizes because, while a child doesn't need as much buoyancy, they also can't carry as big a vest.   

       This also still lets out things like the solar still and enclosing roof that are strongly proven to increase survivability.   

       So, while it may be borderline possible, it's going to be a bare bones liferaft, and it will have severe disadvantages relative to the standard full sized inflatable raft.
MechE, Aug 28 2012

       How about a inflatable life-raft, with a dial?   

       Select your choice and it expands out into either -   

       1) a miniature version of the ship that just went down 2) the Titanic, 3) a Viking longboat 4) a Mississippi paddle-wheel steamer 5) a big clown.   

       Now, that would be classy.
not_morrison_rm, Aug 29 2012

       It occurs to me I forgot to allow for multiple independent chambers with enough redundancy that the entire thing still floats if one or more of them is punctured. That's going to up the volume probably by at least about a third (either extra material for many small chambers, or a complete extra large chamber). So, even more unlikely to fit in something wearable.
MechE, Aug 29 2012

       By attaching a life vest boat life vest over the life vest boat you can have your redundancy without sacrificing space for the life vest boat.
Voice, Aug 29 2012

       //a life vest boat life vest   

       Ahhh the third policeman lifeboat vest approach.   

       I suppose it might be possible to make a very teeny lifeboat vest for each and every molecule in the body, that would give a pleasing amount of redundancy...
not_morrison_rm, Aug 30 2012

       Mech-E's managed to identify all the reasons why this would never work. Now's a good time to pass on all these words of wisdom to all the people soon to die by careless use of pool floats.
Phrontistery, Aug 30 2012

       Eh er, isn't the ship sinking? I'll just bring one of these Mae West Lifeboat Vests back to the cabin, er, with me.
rcarty, Aug 30 2012

       I'm not saying it's impossible, I'm saying it's far less comfortable/effective than the current life vest/life raft combination.
MechE, Aug 30 2012

       I think one of the biggest problems in ship sinkings is that people in the water get cold. If you go to Amazon and do a search on "bubble suit" there is a costume that looks like long underwear but made of bubble wrap. It would be easier than a life vest for people to figure out how to put it on in a water emergency. Even if water gets under the suit, the water won't move much and will soon warm up and contribute to the thermal insulation. The whole thing comes in a 6" cube, so it would give about 8 pounds of additional bouyancy, more than enough to keep a person afloat in salt water.
RickRantilla, Nov 26 2014


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