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Standards certifier improving safety for water activity businesses and manufacturers globally

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SAI Global has partnered with Surf Life Saving Australia to develop the world’s first specification/standard for low-buoyancy water safety gear.

The leading specialist in product improvement and compliance through the delivery of Australian and international Standards, SAI Global was selected by Surf Life Saving Australia to provide quality assurance for the development of the world’s first low-buoyancy safety products, beginning with lifejackets.

The new partnership is expected to improve water safety on a global level by pioneering research and engaging manufacturers to develop the first-ever compact, low-buoyancy lifejackets that provide wearers with free movement, agility and speed in the water. 

Lifejackets available today restrict movement or have a buoyancy level higher than the current Level 50 Australian Standard, preventing wearers from moving swiftly through water.

Surf Life Saving Australia will assist in testing the new lifejacket in a number of water-based scenarios and indicate the criteria to be met by the new product. The development of this new product will minimise risk for surf life savers and water sports participants such as paddle boarders and windsurfers when they enter the water. 

Richard Donarski, Team Leader Health & Safety who is heading SAI Global’s research into the new water-safety specification, explains that accidents and injury can easily occur in the water during aquatic activities; without a suitable lifejacket, even the best swimmers may find themselves in danger when an incident occurs.

According to Mr Donarski, even a simple incident, such as a head injury from a collision with a board or boat or fainting due to fatigue, could result in a person sinking to the bottom of the water and unable to be quickly located and rescued. The new product will help in the recovery of people in cases where injury or fatigue has occurred.

SAI Global’s aim is to develop a product that will not only set a new Australian Safety Standard, but will also be recognised on a global level. SAI Global is calling for lifejacket manufacturers and suppliers of water safety products to work with them and Surf Life Saving Australia on the project. Government agencies and associations involved in water based activities and sports are also welcome to participate and assist with the research and development of the new products.

SAI Global will work with Surf Life Saving Australia to test the products in saltwater, fresh water, surf, river and lake environments. 

Greg Nance, CEO of Surf Life Saving Australia says that the organisation remains committed to the ongoing enhancement of safety and protection of all Surf Life Saving Australia members and the broader community. 

Initial testing and product trials with take place in Sydney in April 2014 in collaboration with SAI Global, Surf Life Saving Australia, James Cook University and Vic labs.

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