Boating safety has never been more important, even though school is back in session across Texas and traffic on lakes, rivers and bays is set to decline.

With that in mind, the BoatUS Foundation, along with the Personal Floatation Device Manufacturers Association and the National Marine Manufacturers Association, have teamed up to seek out new technology and design ideas with the “Innovation in Life Jacket Design Competition,” which runs through April 15. A $10,000 cash award goes to the winning designer and inventors can submit their ideas online.

Entries that embrace new technologies and nontraditional thinking are being encouraged from individuals or groups, including high school science clubs, collegiate design programs and even boat and fishing clubs. There are no rules regarding types of materials that can be used or whether the design meets any current U.S. standards. Entries can be as simple as hand-drawn theoretical designs to working prototypes.

The entries will be judged based on four criteria: wearability, reliability, cost and innovation. Wearability relates to the level of comfort. Reliability will take into account the chances for potential failure, while cost will look at the affordability of the design. Innovation will take into account originality or the utilization of new technologies. Additionally, the BoatUS Foundation will post entries on its website and Facebook page for public voting. The winner will be announced at the September 2015 International Boat Builders Exhibition and Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, and additional cash prizes are offered for second and third place.


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