Engineering company Scio IT unveiled at Inditex headquarters in Arteixo (A Coruña, Spain) Safe to Sea, an ocean safety system it developed to save lives in "man overboard" accidents on small fishing boats. Inditex sponsored the project with the backing of Xesgalicia.
The lifesaving device is equipped with the latest integrated telecommunications technology and is available in easy-to-use, ergonomic gear including belts and exposure suits to allow fishermen to do their work unimpeded.
Attendees at the project presentation included the head of the Galician regional government, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, Development Minister Ana Pastor, Galicia’s Economy Councillor Javier Guerra, Galician Work Councillor Beatriz Mato, Rural Environment and Sea Councillor Rosa Quintana, and members of 40 Galician fishermen's guilds.
Safe to Sea, the product of six years of research and development by Scio IT in conjunction with the universities of A Coruña and Vigo, is designed for use on any type of ship, fishing boat or leisure craft. It is especially useful for the crews of small fishing boats, which account for 90% of man overboard incidents due to the type of work they perform.
According to Jaime Casals, Scio IT chief executive, “Safe to Sea is designed for use by the boats which account for 80% of Spain’s fishing fleet, small vessels with few crewmembers, on which sailors sometimes choose not to use safety gear because it gets in the way of their ability to do their jobs.” Safe to Sea is tailored to fishermen's requirements for comfort and ergonomics.
This innovative ocean safety system consists of an integrated device on the craft’s control panel which constantly monitors the electronic sensor system inside the belt or suit worn by each crewmember. This personal electronic system sends an alarm signal when a crewmember falls overboard. It also triggers automatic inflation of a life vest within two seconds to keep the sailor afloat until he can be rescued.
As soon as the crewmember goes overboard, the ship’s control panel system guides the crew to his exact location. In the event that no other crewmembers are onboard the vessel, the system automatically issues an alert over integrated VHF radio, including a mayday signal and the sailor’s GPS location, to nearby ships and ocean rescue authorities.