Restube - a lightweight, compressed-air lifesaver deployed upon incident
When the Restube inflates, the user holds onto it to keep afloat
Most anyone that can swim can handle a float across the pool without significant risk of drowning, but being out on a large, open body of water like the ocean or a lake brings dangers to even the surest swimmer. While a personal flotation device (PFD) is a simple solution that will keep you afloat, it can be restricting and cumbersome to wear, making it uncomfortable for athletic activities like surfing or kiteboarding. The Restube gives you some of the life-saving power of a traditional flotation device without the unwanted bulk and discomfort.
The Restube reminds us a lot of the Rotauf MRK5, only instead of helping you in avalanches, it's designed to help you in water. According to its website, the device is the size of a mobile phone (looks like maybe a mobile phone from a few years back). You can strap it around your waist like a belt or lash it to a piece of equipment. If you find yourself in a situation where drowning is a risk, pull the trigger and the compressed air canister fills a flotation tube. Grab on, and you have an instant flotation device to keep you above water.
The Restube's bright yellow color should make it easy to spot by rescuers. You remain connected to the flotation device via a tether, so it won't float away. Thanks to the tether, you can also dive underneath oncoming waves. When back on land, the Restube deflates and rolls back up for future use.
The one downside of this system is that the tube is a straight bar and doesn't wrap around your body in any way. It requires you to hold onto it, which could be a problem if you're injured, exhausted or in particularly rough water.
Restube is a product of German company Kopfproduktion. Several different versions of the system will hit the market in April. The company will release pricing closer to launch but has indicated it will start below EUR100 (US$135).
About the Author
Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.
All articles by C.C. Weiss
This strikes me as more of a fig leaf for people who don't want to be bothered with a life jacket, rather than a practical safety device.
If you are in rough seas, or in a situation like an overturned boat where there are lots of things to catch on, this will be hard to use or possibly even impossible. The cord might even tangle on a sinking boat and drag you down with it. And if you are unconscious or incapacitated, it won't do a thing for you.
There's also a lot more to go wrong here. If your compressed air cylinder goes flat or your trigger mechanism fails, it does nothing.
Lastly, if you do fall overboard and use it successfully, you will probably not be able to use it again for the rest of the voyage, until you get back to civilization and replace the air cylinder.
Well I don't Surf, BUt I do Kitesurf and Sail a little (very little)...
There is no impediment to wearing a Watersports PFD kitesurfing, waterskiing, or sailing... (Of course I don't wear a typical boatie chunky bright orange Type 1 PFD, that would be a hassle...
Surfing is different because you actually want to go under water when duck diving waves, but then again you are strapped to a board.... In most instances that will be within armslength (sort of)
Kitesurfing offshore, or even in flat water 500m from shore.... Having a Kite failure, it is a hassle sorting out the lines if NOT wearing a PFD...
This stupid thingy will be of no help swimming, in rough water, and it needs arms to hold onto.... Not good when lugging gear back to shore....
Basically anyone Not wearing some floatation device when kitesurfing is risking a lot....
When the crap hits the fan it is nice to know you are just going to bob around as live shark bait rather than being pulled from the water as a floater.... Exhaustion Kills..
Then again if you prefer nice slow scooting along in the shore breaks, you probably had best pack you kite up and leave it for someone else to use who will put it to good use....
This device reminds me a lot of what rescue swimmers use. I think that if it came between wearing this all the time versus only occasionally wearing a PFD (life jacket), I, for one, would much rather have this tied to me. And, there may be a way to provide straps which if, say for instance, it were worn loosely around the neck,would allow the inflated bladder be a fully Coast Guard approved life saving device.
I think it is a great idea but needs more research and development prior to coming to market.
This is not a particularly new idea... over 60 years-old, in fact.:
You need something like a fishing vest or suspenders with multiple float bags so it will float you safely even if your incapacitated. Also valves so the loss of one bag doesn't deflate all the bags.
Should have a device which attaches to the shoulders, may be plastic, have air in, need not be too big, just about 500 ml air capacity. and this is enough to keep the head and neck above water, the design can be contouring and not obstructing and always on and inflated.
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