A group of researcher and clothing manufacturers are meeting in Spain this month, and the results could change the way seafarers, in the fishing industry in particular, perform their work. The group is midway in a four year European Union funded project to design work wear which will better protect seafarers.
The project is called Safe @ Sea and brings scientists from various fields to design work wear that will be comfortable enough to use, but will increase safety and functionality.
Design functions like built in integrated electronics to aid in communication, EPIRB, man overboard engine cutoff will probably the most dramatic change. Electronics are flashy, but researchers of the “intelligent” wear are also trying to make it durable and easy to maintain, not to mention offer floating capabilities and protection from the element. Norway’s SINTEF (Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research) is coordinating, with Helly Hansen Pro spearheading the 4.2 million Euro project, made up of 14 groups of researchers and firms, from across the European Union.
Even though this project is principally aimed for fishermen – with 28.5 million workers in that industry alone – the resultant findings will undoubtedly impact workers in the offshore, shipping and ports industries as well.
There is some pretty neat stuff on the drawing board, illustrated below. Some of the neat features include built in radio interface, also simple ease of note taking on the forearm. I look forward to their findings and the new generation of protective clothing, and certainly applaud the EU’s progressive thinking in protecting their seafarers, something you don’t see too much of in North America.