The Aegis Lifeshirt is a lightweight shirt-like evolution of the life jacket, that was announced at ICAST, the world’s largest sportfishing trade show in Orlando, this past Summer. Lifeshirt is an inflatable life jacket-type device designed to achieve a Level 50 performance rating established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This lightweight class of flotation device is endorsed throughout Europe and much of the world where bulky, more constrictive devices can impair the user's activity making them less likely to be worn.
The U.S. Coast Guard and Transport Canada have announced that a significant North American life jacket reclassification is underway, and have stated intentions to harmonize with the lightweight ISO designation. However, the adoption of these new and improved life jacket standards are years behind the once anticipated timeline.
“We’ve stalled the development and launch of Lifeshirt for nearly two years in anticipation of the new North American standard,” said Jimi Beach, Director of Development, Aegis Lifeshirt. “However, boaters are not regularly wearing the current bulky PFDs and loss of life due to drowning can be directly attributed to this fact. People are practically screaming for an approved lightweight class in North America, one that boaters and paddlers are willing to wear."
Although manufacturers can sell unapproved life jackets in the U.S., these devices do not satisfy the vessel carriage requirements established by the Coast Guard for recreational boats and paddle craft. “Our patented Lifeshirt performs extremely well as a flotation device,” said Beach. “We really hoped for a U.S. design standard to measure our performance. We ultimately determined that if ISO standards are good enough for Europeans and the rest of the world, they should be good enough for Americans too, so that is the benchmark we are testing to.”
“Designing a better life jacket is not a new challenge,” stated Jim Emmons, former President, Water Sports Industry Association. “For nearly ten years the boating industry and the U.S. Coast Guard have sought innovation for a more wearable life jacket. Without a doubt, the Lifeshirt is the most advanced and relevant solution I’ve seen. I think this product could be widely adopted and regularly worn by participants of most any water activity.”
Earlier this year, Lifeshirt was entered into the 2015 Innovations in Life Jacket Design Competition presented by BoatUS Foundation. Lifeshirt has advanced to the final round of the international competition, besting more than 250 submissions and remaining as one of only fourteen finalists that will compete in the “public voting” segment.
Lifeshirt uses a combination of newly developed, high tech materials and components that not only provide instant lifesaving flotation, but also guarantee comfort and performance. Beach continued, “All Lifeshirt models use fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin and offer the highest rated protection from UV sunlight. We are entering an era when consumers will be expecting a lot more from their clothing than just covering their parts. Lifeshirt will save you from drowning, help protect you from harmful sunrays, and even has the potential to measure your activity levels by integrating fitness trackers, all in a lightweight and stylish package not much heavier than a traditional t-shirt.