Fishing & Boating News

Water Safety Breakthrough - Lifevests That Inflate When Submerged

(Sunday, September 26,1999 - PINTLALA, AL) "This is the most important step toward saving lives since the invention of the life vest," says Ray Scott, about the recent United States Coast Guard approval of the first automatic inflatable life vest, SOSPENDERS, by Sporting Lives, Inc.

"The key to saving lives is not just to have a floatation device handy -- it is getting people to wear it. SOSPENDERS vests save lives because people don't mind wearing them," says Scott, a nationally recognized leader in boating safety and founder of the world's largest fishing organization, the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society. "Until now, people didn't like to wear life vests because they were uncomfortable. They got in the way of having fun."

Numbers tell the deadly result: of the 821 water-related fatalities in 1997, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 663 of those people were not wearing life vests. Another 65 were wearing them, but still drown.

"We'll see both numbers plunge in upcoming seasons," says Scott.

"The automatic inflatable SOSPENDERS life vests are narrow, thin and lightweight," he adds, "They don't get in the way. The vest inflates when submerged, and - and this is so very important," Scott says -- "the SOSPENDERS vest will turn most unconscious people to a face-up position and hold their head, nose, and mouth out of the water. Check the label on your current vest," he says. "Most say that they won't do that."

Scott Swanby, president/C.E.O. of Sporting Lives, plans to have the automatic units ready in time for Christmas.

Alabama's Marine Police already wear the manually-activated SOSPENDERS; as do law enforcement officials in other states. It was the vest of choice of 40 of the 45 pros in the BASS Masters Classic world championship in July.

Swanby spearheaded the fight for comfortable, inflatable PFDs after a friend, who was not wearing his PFD, drown in1983. The life vest, he had said, was "bulky and uncomfortable." Swanby, who was left to tell his wife and children that he wouldn't be coming home, vowed to develop a life vest that people would wear; one that would float them high and face-up in the water.

B.A.S.S. founder, Scott, first began championing boating safety among America's approximately 30 million bass anglers. He required B.A.S.S. tournament anglers to wear life vests in the early 1970s. He then helped pioneer kill switches with Mercury Motors and required their use in his tournaments. His work earned him the United States Coast Guard Public Service Commendation for furthering Coast Guard aims. After eight years as a supporter of SOSPENDERS, without compensation, Scott recently signed on as spokesperson.

Sporting Lives, Inc., is the number one manufacturer of high-performance inflatable personal flotation devices. Its United States Coast Guard Approved SOSPENDERS PFDs include World Class Sailing harnesses and the World Class Sport and Belt-Pack models.

SOSPENDERS are available in many stores or by phoning 1-800-518-7222. A free demonstration video is available for the cost of shipping and handling.