Inflatable Rescue Boat Foot Strap Redesign

Overview.

Injuries to surf lifesavers operating inflatable rescue boats were identified as a problem by Surf Life Saving NZ. A pattern of reoccurring ankle/foot injuries is evident from Crewman passenger’s operating Inflatable Rescue boats. The project was to redesign a foot strap, providing IRB operating crewman with a safer and more effective experience. This was done with the guide of Mechanic Engineers and Surf Lifeguards.

The existing 3 point of contact for a crewman in an Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) have been considered potentially dangerous. This is evident due to incident reports and injuries from IRB crewman between 2010-2020. There was opportunity to contribute towards the further safety of IRB crewman by redesigning the foot strap. Reports show that most foot/ ankle injuries occur impacting a wave (hitting or falling motion on wave).

Through plenty of iterations and physical tests, the result was more than satisfactory. It was found that adjustability of the product will benefit its function and safety of the users. The goal was to design the adjustable foot straps fit all types and sizes of users quickly. This would improve the safety of lifeguards in a racing or rescue scenario. This was achieved adding a cambuckle component (referenced from existing windsurf foot straps). A bungee component was added to give the ankle/ foot space to move only if needed. An example of when the crewman needs this extra foot space is when hitting a wave. This design is an extensive improvement in quality and safety compared to the existing product.

This new design is an improvement of a once potentially dangerous inflatable Rescue Boat foot strap. It has been designed in consideration for the different sized users and is readily adjustable with the quick 'Tug' polywebbing strap and cambuckle mechanism. The bungee additive provides an elastic element to the Crewman experience. This gives the crewman's ankle space to roll or move only when it is pushed to it's limit, rather than trapping the ankle in a stationary angle and position (commonly in harsh conditions).

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“My time with Good Health Design was a beneficial learning curve and further taught me to collaboratively work, communicate and design with a team. Being able to work with IRB racing professionals and bio-mechanic doctorates was a privilege. The highlight was being able to test my design on site, gathering data from the IRB operators in rough conditions.”

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