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New take on old life buoy wins 2019 DAME award

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The prestigious DAME Award for innovations in marine equipment design was won by the self-propelled lifesaving float U SAFE at the 2019 METStrade show held Nov. 19-21 in Amsterdam. 

The jury found the U SAFE to be “a perfect example of how accepted norms for products in widespread use across the marine leisure world can be examined and improved by great design effort,” according to a press release from the organization.

The U SAFE, a reinvention of the traditional life buoy, is auto-propelled and remote-controlled. It can be launched from a boat, a marina or the shore in line of sight at speeds of up to 15 kph, and it operates for up to 30 minutes. With a design that incorporates completely flush jet drives and large rigid grab holds, as well as a U-shaped area to swim into, the device offers enhanced life-saving options with less risk to rescuers.

According to organizers, several category winners reached a closely debated final round to decide the overall DAME winner. This year’s competition attracted 118 entries from 27 countries, with 59 of those products chosen to advance to the final rounds of judging. The jury then chose winners in each of the seven DAME categories, from which the overall DAME Award winner was named. 

Each year, organizers of METS donate the combined registration fees for the DAME Design Award to worthy causes. This year, €17,700 was raised, and the METStrade Exhibition Committee selected two charities: sailing4handicaps and The Little Optimist Trust. Each received a check for €8,850.

2019 DAME Design Award category winners:

Marine Electronics and Marine Related Software: Garmin GPSMAP 86i

Interior equipment, Furnishings, Materials and Electrical Fittings Used in Cabins: Lumitec Moray Flex Light

Marina Equipment, Boatyard Equipment and Boat Construction Tools and Materials: Lignia Wood Company 

Deck Equipment, Sails and Rigging: Karver Compact Winch and Winch Handle

Clothing and Crew Accessories: Mustang Callan Waterproof Jacket and Salopettes

Lifesaving and Safety Equipment: U-SAFE self-propelled lifesaving float

Machinery, Propulsion, Mechanical and Electrical Systems and Fittings: (Joint winners) Garmin Force Trolling Motor and Navico GHOST Trolling Motor

The jury also identified these 17 “special mentions,” or commended runner-up entries: 

Marine Electronics and Marine Related Software: 

  • Digital Yacht GPS160 TriNav Positioning Sensor
  • FLIR M364C Marine Thermal Camera System
  • Raymarine DockSense Alert Assisted Docking
  • Vesper Cortex

Interior Equipment, Furnishing, Materials and Electrical Fittings Used in Cabins:

  • Lumishore Lumi-Link Wireless

Marina Equipment, Boatyard Equipment and Boat Construction Tools and Materials:

  • Teakdecking Systems
  • The Applicator

Deck Equipment, Sails and Rigging:

  • Bamar BFBMMSS Boom Furling Manual Mechanism
  • Fender Design FlexiCush
  • Marlow Blue Ocean Dockline
  • Scanstrut ROKK Wireless – Active/Edge

Clothing and Crew Accessories:

  • Dacoblue collapsible fuel and water backpack
  • Ursuit Gemino Navigator

Lifesaving and Safety Equipment:

  • ACR ResQLink View Personal Locator Beacon
  • Spinlock Deckvest 6D Lifejacket
  • Wichard offshore rescue knife

Machinery, Propulsion, Mechanical and Electrical Systems and Fittings:

  • Dometic Optimus Electric Remote Mount Steering Actuator
  • Teignbridge Clamp on Blade Propeller

METS is the world’s largest trade exhibition of equipment, materials and systems for the international leisure marine industry. It is organized by RAI Amsterdam in association with ICOMIA (International Council of Marine Industry Associations). For more information, visit metstrade.com.

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