Sunday, December 8th, 2019

Bondi Beach Trials Solar Powered Lifesaver

Published on September 9, 2013 by   ·   No Comments

According to the World Health Organization, drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death across the globe.  Lifeguards do their best to minimise these figures, however they don’t always have the best tools for the job.  British designer Ross Kemp has come to their rescue.


Ross explains, “A lot of rescue aids are simply re-purposed leisure equipment.  For example a paddle board is just a surf board, and a jetski is just adapted for rescue purposes, so rescuers adapt the way they rescue people to the equipment rather than the equipment for them.”

Furthermore, with the rising cost of fuel, petrol-guzzling jetskis are gradually being ruled out for underfunded local- or charity-run lifeguard services.  Powered by the sun, Ross’s ASAP watercraft has set its sights on being the rescue craft of choice for the (not too distant) future.  Designed to get help to the casualty ‘As Soon As Possible’, the creation is part jetski, part surfboard and part mini catamaran, but needs just a third of the running costs of your average petrol-powered watercraft.


The idea came to Ross while he was on a lifeguard training course.  The Loughborough University graduate (first class honours in Industrial Product Design no less) found it very hard to tow a listless body in the water and started examining the rescue equipment available on the market.  It was then that he discovered it was all rather expensive and not quite fit-for-purpose – Ross found his gap for a tailor-made affordable solution.

Having spent months watching on-duty lifeguards in action, the first ASAP prototype was created in a tent in his back garden.  Ross is now on prototype number two with the help of mentor Ross Lovegrove, a visionary multi award-winning designer, and has already won his first accolade – Best Startup Business in the UK from the Lloyds TSB Enterprise Awards, a victory that earned him a cool ten thousand pounds.

What makes the ASAP stand out is its lightweight build meaning one person can jump on and immediately get underway to the casualty.  The centre platform slopes to enable the injured to easily slide onboard and a nifty v-shaped catamaran-style hull carves through the water and minimises the bumpy rise-and-fall wave-slap that’s all too common (and potentially dangerous for the injured party) with a jetski.  Mr Lovegrove insisted that solar-powered lights were installed to make the ASAP glow in low light.


Currently, maximum speed is 15mph but Ross and his team plan to stretch this higher.  Whilst it will never be as powerful as a jetski, the pollution-free ASAP will most definitely get the lifeguard on his rescue mission far quicker (and conserving more energy) than merely swimming.

In his quest to save lives, Ross now has a rather useful ally in the shape of Richard Branson.  Innocent Drinks co-Founder Richard Reed took a liking to the ASAP concept when he spotted it on TV show ‘Be Your Own Boss’ and then passed word to the Virgin mogul.  Sir Branson has now kindly offered to fly Ross’s invention to Bondi Beach (with Virgin Atlantic of course) for testing by its famed lifeguard team.  He said, “Once you have one or two sold, your first rescues, you can get the ball rolling” – wise words from the fourth richest citizen of the UK.

The product will be ready to sell at the start of next year.

Keep an eye on

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