According to the Center for Disease Control's most recent statistics, there are about 10 fatal drownings per day. Children age 1 through 4 have the highest drowning rates. Graham Snyder, an emergency-room physician who has dealt with his share of drowning accidents, is the co-inventor of a system that could help reduce those sad numbers.
The SEAL system consists of a necklace-type device and a monitoring hub. A swimmer wears the neck band and goes underwater. The lifeguard or parent also wears a band. After a certain amount of time without surfacing, visual and audio alarms signal on the necklace, the hub, and the lifeguard's band.
A lot of thought has gone into the design for SEAL. It works in both salt and fresh water. For safety reasons, the neck band is designed to come off if pulled on. The bands are good for about six hours of swimming before needing a recharge.
A hub system with a single neck band goes for a $149 pledge. The top pledge level comes in at $599 for six swimmer bands, two lifeguard bands, two hubs, and two charging stations. The maker sees the system as working for both home and commercial applications. The commercial version will be able to support more than 100 swimmers while the residential can handle up to 12.
A working prototype has already been developed and tested, so the Indiegogo funding project is aimed at getting SEAL into production. The cost may put some buyers off, but it's certainly a more high-tech system than those orange arm floaties that were popular when I was learning how to swim.