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Contest seeks creative life jacket designs

The BoatU.S. Foundation's "Innovation in Life Jacket Design Competition" is once again calling for out-of-the-box entries.

Five years ago, the competition resulted in several new and innovative life jacket designs, but the interest in new, more comfortable designs has not faded. Although current models save lives every day, many are still bulky and uncomfortable, leaving boaters reluctant to wear them, the foundation said.

The BoatU.S. Foundation, along with Underwriters Laboratories and the Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association, is running the contest.

Entries will be judged on four criteria: wearability, reliability, cost and innovation. The deadline to enter is Feb. 1.

In early February, videos of all entries will be posted online at the BoatU.S. Foundation's channel at and the public will be asked to select a group of finalists. The finalist entries will be reviewed March 6-9 by a special panel of judges convened at the International Boating and Water Safety Summit in Savannah, Ga., and the winner will be announced.

A $5,000 cash award goes to the winning designer.

"We believe that out-of-the-box thinking may lead to the next generation of life-saving devices," BoatU.S. Foundation president Ruth Wood said. "We anticipate designs that will be creative and unconventional."

Click here for details.