Sailing News


After battling an electrical fire on 48' Heather Kay, four fishermen donned survival suits, launched their Viking life raft and abandoned ship. Their well-planned evacuation led to a safe rescue by the US Coast Guard.

After battling an electrical fire on 48' Heather Kay, four fishermen donned survival suits, launched their Viking life raft and abandoned ship. Their well-planned evacuation led to a safe rescue by the US Coast Guard.

However, their time in the life raft became adventurous. After the crew was a safe distance from the burning boat, the Heather Kay’s engines mysteriously started up. As the flaming vessel bore down on the raft, the men were forced to paddle their way to safety.

According to a press release, Captain David Glenn, Chief of Operations for the 17th Coast Guard District stated, “The crew had proper safety equipment, which is the key to surviving emergency situations at sea. I highly commend these brave men for their survival preparedness and responsive actions.”

The 8-person life raft manufactured by Viking Life-Saving Equipment was an integral part of the crew’s survival. This USCG/SOLAS-approved life raft is designed for use on fishing, commercial and passenger vessels as well as for offshore installations. Viking life rafts are available in sizes to accommodate 4 to 150 people.
Contact Viking Life-Saving Equipment, 1400 NW 159th St, Suite 101, Miami, FL 33169. Phone: 305-614-5800; Fax: 305-614-5810.;

Design A Better Life Jacket And Win $5,000

Innovation in Life Jacket Design Competition is Calling for “Out-of-the-Box” Entries Current models of life jackets save lives everyday, however, a 2004 BoatU.S Foundation study found that many boaters often don’t wear them because they are uncomfortable. So what would a life jacket look and feel like if there were no government guidelines?

To encourage innovative ideas and new technology to design a life jacket that the majority of boaters might wear, the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water and the Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association (PFDMA) are sponsoring an “Innovation in Life Jacket Design Competition,” which seeks entries that embrace new technologies and out-of-the-box thinking to solve the age-old problem of why certain boaters won’t routinely wear life jackets.
Entries are being encouraged from armchair inventors to high school science clubs and collegiate design programs. The winning designer will receive a $5,000 award.

“We believe that out-of-the-box thinking may lead to the next generation of life saving devices,” said BoatU.S. Foundation President Ruth Wood. “By opening the competition to the widest audience of professionals and amateur tinkerers, we anticipate designs that will be creative and unconventional.”

PFDMA Executive Director Bernice McArdle said, “Today’s life jackets are well designed but follow a defined and somewhat controlled set of guidelines. Our hope is that this competition will open up the playing field and encourage entries that will ultimately influence greater use of life jackets among boaters.”

The competition will be judged based on four criteria: wearability, reliability, cost and innovation. “Wearability” relates to the level of comfort. “Reliability” will take into account the chances for potential failure, while “cost” will look at the affordability of the design. “Innovation” will take into account originality or the employment of new technologies.

There are no rules regarding types of materials to be used or whether the design meets any current U.S. Coast Guard or Underwriters Laboratory standards. However, certain entries may be submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard to review for possible financial assistance towards gaining full USCG approval.

Entries do not have to include a working model or prototype, as detailed drawings will be accepted. For more information including an entry form and contest rules, visit

You may also contact Ruth Wood at 703-823-9550, x3204/ or Bernice McArdle at 312-946-6280/

Entries will be accepted from March 31, 2005 to December 15, 2005, with the winner announced at the Miami International Boat Show in February, 2006.
The BoatU.S Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit education and research organization primarily funded by the voluntary contributions of 580,000 members of BoatU.S., the nation’s largest recreational boat owners association. The Foundation operates more than a dozen programs including the only accredited, free, online general boating safety course, a low-cost EPIRB rental program, the “Help Stop the Drops” clean fueling campaign, a free kid’s Life Jacket Loaner program, and awards grants to nonprofit groups for boating safety and environmental projects.

The Personal Floatation Device Manufacturers Association is an affiliate of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), the leading trade organization representing the recreational boating industry. NMMA member companies produce more than 80% of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters and anglers in the United States. The association is dedicated to industry growth through programs in public policy, market research and data, product quality assurance and marketing communications.

Ban On Great Lakes Drilling Blocked

The House Rules Committee refused to let the full House vote on a bipartisan rider to the Energy Bill that would permanently ban drilling for oil and gas on the Great Lakes, which contains one-fifth of the world’s fresh water. The U.S. has a moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the Great Lakes that expires in 2007. Canada already allows drilling on its side of the lakes.

A bipartisan group, led by Democrat Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan and Republican Representative Vernon Elhers of Michigan, warned that increased drilling would raise the risk of oil spills and hazardous gas leaks that would endanger lakeside residents and further damage the fragile environment.

The Great Lakes cover 94,000 square miles and supplies drinking water to 30 million people. However, oil industry experts say that drilling would be environmentally safe.

“Canada has drilled more than 2,000 wells on its side of the lakes and has not had one oil spill or leak that has caused damage,” said Thomas Stewart, Executive Vice President of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.