Available Technology

Apollo-Era Life Rafts Save Hundreds of Sailors

To keep life rafts holding astronauts and frogmen from capsizing from the downdraft of rescue helicopters after Apollo-era splashdown landings, engineers at NASA's Johnson Space Center designed and patented a self-righting life raft capable of resisting tipping in choppy seas and fierce winds. Givens Marine Survival Co. Inc., of Tiverton, Rhode Island, patented this invention and now manufactures and markets the rescue rafts-under the name Givens Buoy Life Raft-in a variety of sizes and models for everything from sailboats to larger ocean-going vessels. To date, Givens has sold several thousand of the ballasted, inflatable life rafts, and this space-age technology is credited with saving the lives of over 450 sailors.
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