It’s always a good idea to wear a life vest when you're on a boat, but let’s face it: they aren't very comfortable and usually look pretty dweeby. A new solution that bills itself as the world’s most comfortable flotation device might just solve those problems—and potentially save lives along with it. (The CDC estimates that half of all boating deaths could be prevented with life jackets.)
The Aegis Lifeshirt isn’t made of foam like most flotation devices, and isn’t bulky. In fact, it looks a lot like the thin rashguards worn by surfers. A sensor inside can tell when the wearer is submerged in the water, and the device will automatically inflate with the help of a CO2 canister. Once inflated, air chambers in the shirt help to keep your head above water.
See how it works in the video below:
The product is still being tested for water safety standards, and it hasn’t yet met all the requirements needed to be considered a life jacket—namely, that it can keep your face above water even if you’ve been knocked unconscious. The current design is a “buoyancy aid,” which helps you stay afloat but requires that you still be conscious and swimming to keep yourself upright.
The company is working on improving its shirts to meet higher safety standards. The design isn’t for sale yet, but will likely be available in the next year or so.
The planned versions of the shirt include the standard unisex design, a sun-protective version, a version for kids, and a version specifically designed for women.