German life jacket company Secumar is not only the “mother” of the modern inflatable life jacket but also the innovation leader when it comes to new safety-solutions for sailors. Deeply rooted in providing safety for sailors since the end of World War 2, the family-owned company is not just well renown amongst private skippers and spare-time sailors but also within the professional seafaring community as well as within the Navy. Today Secumar added another innovational product to their long list of groundbreaking SOLAS-equipment.
“What is the worst about getting overboard?”, asked Secumar Sales-Manager for sports products, Olivier Christen. Before I could even answer, he took the word right off my mouth: “It´s the hunger, of course! MOBs happen literally at the worst possible moments, primarily in between the mealtimes. Whilst waiting for rescue, apart from hypothermia or shark attacks, people often feel stomach cramps and worse pain – they are so hungry!” Secumar had to tackle this issue, Christen said.
Undeniable proof by statistics and tests
Thankfully, the cases of MOB haven been stagnating since 2015, says Christen. But still, the numbers are staggering: Between 2011 and 2018 alone, more than 23.000 cases of serious accidents had been recorded, of which some 7.700 people had been injured and 700 people deceased. In EU waters this number stagnates at some 3.000 accidents per year, but, as Olivier Christen puts it: “Safety at Sea is of utmost concern!” That is why Secumar not only combed through the numbers, but acted.
“At our production facility near Hamburg we have a large water tank where we can test our products. With dummies and of course with volunteers. We have simulated various types of MOB-incidents and the results are clear: The people who had something to eat were abe to stand through the ordeals much better than the control group.” The conclusion drawn was logical: The combination of a life jacket with … a luncheon.
Introducing the new Secumar Scout LunchBreak Edition 275 N
“We searched for the best partner to realize this project”, Olivier Christen told me: “And we found the famous Luebeck power bar manufacturer Corny. It´s, like we are, a Northern German product and, by the way, tastes absolutely fantastic.” Secumar added a dedicated pouch to their leading sailing-product, the Scout life jacket, which is filled with four Corny power bars. “Which type of hungry MOB are you?”, asks Christian.
The choice of tastes is wide: Corny offers the traditional cereal bar or even more tastier bars with frostings and coatings in various types. Chocolate, Strawberry or Vanilla. “We chose to start with their new Protein bars, which provide the most energy for the MOB.” 30 per cent protein from soy beans and milk and less sugar: “You certainly don´t want to gain weight while over board!”, says Olivier Christen. With four bars available, that´s a load of extra energy to bridge the waiting time while rescue is on its way.
Innovation Made in Germany
“We are very proud of this new innovation”, say Olivier: “Our little museum in Hamburg is full of the great ideas and proof od the struggle to make seafaring safer.” Target group for the new LunchBreak Lifejacket edition is first the private skipper. “These guys, predominantly charter boat crews, tend to be the most hungry MOBs. So we will start to equip charter boat companies with our new life jackets.”
One cannot have everything, that is clear: With Secumar, the dedicated skipper will be able to choose between the new LunchBreak jackets or fit an emergency transmitter. “We try to offer both in one solution, but this would make the products to heavy and uncomfy to wear.” In this, deciding between a small EPIRB/AIS-transmitter or the tasty, crunchy power-bars with bio-dynamically grown cereals is up to the skippers. “Caring is sharing”, Olivier proposes: As many losses of boats at sea mean multiple people in the water, why not splitting? “One is wearing the beacon, one is sharing the chocolate.” Things could be so easy …
Rugged testing phase
Right now the new Scout LunchBreak Edition won´t be available for the public. Secumar started a testing phase with selected sailors and crews. “We want to be sure to deliver an absolutely watertight product: Imagine going overboard and your bar is wet?! This cannot happen!” Also, aligning expiry dates of the bars with the maintenance intervals of the life jacket release mechanisms is a big thing: “We would then check the vest and also change the bars – maybe add a new flavour”, Christen says.
Secumar is confident to being able to start with the new LunchBreak-edition in roughly 12 months: “We will collect the data and apply the necessary changes so that we are able to go live, let´s say, ob April 1st in 2024. Then we can be sure to deliver the best life jacket for the most tastiest MOB of your lifetime!”
You might as well be interested in this 1st April article:
Thermal Lift Effect sails: Making physics add a knot or two
Addendum. This is of course a bitter-sweet and sarcastic approach to a very serious topic. As a sailor you should care about the safety of your crew, your boat and your surroundings all the time. Make good choices, not stupid ones. Don´t save money on safety, go for a good brand and manufacturer of your equipment, be trained and have your crew and guests briefed and updated. As funny as this article may seem – don’t fool around with it when casting off.