Every year, an estimated 372,000 people around the world die from drowning. In the US more people drown each year than die in gun-related incidents.
But many of these deaths are apparently preventable. At least according to the makers of a brand new gadget that is taking the internet by storm, and could revolutionise surf safety.
“This gadget could revolutionise surf safety.”
The Kingii is an inflatable airbag that you wear on watch strap which can pull you up to the surface and keep you there if you’re struggling.
It’s an ingeniously simple idea and one that seems to have struck a chord with the public – in the space of just a couple of weeks the gadget’s designers have raised more than $450,000 (£287,000) on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo, smashing their $65,000 target.
But then perhaps that’s not surprising. As the video explains, the number of potential uses for the Kingii is massive. It’s small enough so that it wouldn’t get in the way when doing sports where a lifejacket would be a faff, like diving.
And it could provide serious peace of mind for parents worried about their kids getting into trouble round water.
Plus, imagine how handy it would be for surfing? You may never need to suffer a nasty hold down again. Big wave surfers have been using inflatable vests for a few years – this is like an affordable less-bulky equivalent that everyone could use.
“Imagine never suffering a nasty hold-down again…”
Named for the frill-necked lizard Chlamydosaurus kingii which inflates its neck when it’s in danger, the device will retail at $69 (£45) initially – putting it well within the price range of most water users. You can pre-order one by supporting the Kingii Indiegogo campaign.