Avoiding on-water tragedy

Avoiding on-water tragedy

As the Life Cell inventor explains, lives lost due to boating accidents can be avoided if a few vital steps are followed.

Experience changes perspective on safety

Experience changes perspective on safety

Experience changes perspective on safety

It has been seven years since a near tragedy when my 42ft boat sank in less than 50 seconds almost killing my mate, our two 11yo sons and myself. That incident has taken me in a completely different direction in life, one that I could never have imagined.

I have travelled to Thailand many times in the early days to establish manufacturing and also to North America, UK and Europe to promote our life-saving product. In the last 18 months alone I have made 11 trips to the United States for trade shows, conferences and business meetings.

I have had the pleasure of speaking with many interesting people and have also done many boating safety presentations of my own. I have come to realise that we all have a common goal and that is to reduce the number of people who tragically lost their lives in boating incidents. Whether that be as a result of boating for pleasure or in our commercial fleets as professional fisherman, law enforcement officer or the in the charter boat industry. No matter what you may be doing on the water, there is always a risk that needs to be managed.

In the United States last year, over 700 people lost their lives and this represents a 25% increase in the last three years. The majority lose their lives as a result of their boat capsizing, sinking or being swamped. That’s 700 fathers, mothers, sons and daughters not returning home to their families. The social impact is enormous.

I don’t think that the majority of people realise that when something goes wrong on a boat, the consequences can be as violent as a car accident. A marine safety expert in the United States likens the current storage of marine safety equipment to keeping your seat belt in the boot of your car.

There are two main priorities if you do end up in the water. That is, to firstly stay afloat and secondly to alert someone of your position.

Over the years, since my accident, I have heard of dozens of tragic stories and near misses. Sometimes involving the loss of up to a dozen lives at a time. The findings into these deaths, often points to a missed opportunity to access their safety equipment.

It does not matter which country I visit, the authorities are all saying the same thing. How do we get the message out there? We all know that boating is fun and a great pastime. I have spent my life on the water and from the age of ten in a "tinny" I made the most of my boating adventures. We avoided the Water Police at any cost as we thought they would spoil our fun. Never did it cross our mind that they may just be trying to keep us safe and even save our lives.

Forty years later, I’ve seen and experienced a lot of different scenarios and my perception of marine safety has definitely changed. I’ve been lucky to survive after living life on the edge. I have been attacked by sharks, ring-barked by a Barracuda and even attacked by a crocodile in the Solomon Islands. But, the closest thing to killing me was when my boat sank in less than 50 seconds.

Australia has one of the highest marine safety standards in the world and our low fatalities rates are a testament to this. So respect the rules and think about the accessibility of marine safety equipment on your vessel to ensure the safety of your crew. Enjoy your boating in this amazing country, but be prepared and stay safe.

Scott Smiles

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Courtesy of Nautilus Magazine




In October 2016, 40 Trailer Boat Life Cells and other marine safety gear were funded by The Torres Strait Marine Safety Program from the Queensland  Government Gambling Community Benefit Fund

Supporting The Torres Straight

The marine safety program is a partnership between the

  • Torres Strait Regional Authority,
  • Maritime Safety Queensland,
  • AMSA,
  • Queensland Police Service and
  • the National Maritime Safety Authority of Papua New Guinea.

Due to the reliance on seaborne transport over long distances across open-ocean in small open boats has in the past resulted in a very high incidence of search and rescue in the Torres Strait.

The primary focus of supplying the Life Cell's and safety gear is for

  • improving and promoting boating safety in the Torres Strait;
  • reducing the number of search and rescue operations in the area;
  • increasing the survivability of the persons lost at sea, and
  • supporting the development of the near coastal maritime industry.

We are pleased to say that the program has been a great success with Life Cell being embraced by local communities.

Boating Industry recognises Life Cell as 2018 Top Product

Boating Industry recognises Life Cell as 2018 Top Product

Life Cell Marine Safety is proud to announce that Boating Industry has chosen Life Cell as a 2018 Top Product - http://boatingindustry.com/news/2018/05/01/boating-industrys-2018-top-products/. For the fifth annual year they chose 50 of the newest and most innovative products for the marine industry. All of the winners, including Life Cell, stood out from hundreds of nominations for their impact on the industry, innovation and how they advance their product category – or create something completely new.


Life Cell is redefining how safety equipment is stored on boats and creating a new category of safety equipment in an attempt to save lives. Life Cell is a buoyant float-free device that can store all essential marine safety equipment and designed by a survivor of a rapid sinking off the coast of Sydney, Australia. It is like combining a life ring and a ditch kit in one device, two items that have undergone little innovation in recent history.


Jenny Aiken, CEO Life Cell Marine Safety, is thrilled that Life Cell is gaining recognition in the largest marine market in the world. “Life Cell has had significant success in Australia since it was launched in 2015 and we are pleased that we are starting to get the same traction in the United States” she said.


This award adds to other recent milestones such as US boat manufacturers starting to recommend Life Cell, including Alabama based Silver Ships who have included Life Cell on their new Fire / Rescue demonstration boat - http://www.silverships.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/SIL_DemoBoatFactSheet_Digital_2.pdf. In addition, towing franchisees from both Sea Tow and TowBoatUS have begun recognizing the value of Life Cell and installing it on their vessels.


Land N Sea, Kellogg and Payne’s Marine Group currently distribute life Cell in North America. Other international distributors assist Life Cell Marine Safety to also make their product available in Australasia, United Kingdom, Europe and the UAE.

Life Cell Marine Safety Partners with Silver Ships, Inc. To Outfit Demonstration Boat

Life Cell Marine Safety Partners with Silver Ships, Inc. To Outfit Demonstration Boat

Sunrise, Fla. (April 19, 2018)– Life Cell Marine Safetytoday announces their partnership with Silver Ships, Inc., an aluminum boat-building organization headquartered in Theodore, Ala., in outfitting a fire/rescue demo boat in collaboration with several other vendors.


Life Cell Marine Safety has created a buoyant device that ensures marine safety equipment is safely stored and easy to access during an incident. Silver Ships’ demo boat is equipped with Life Cell’s Yachtsman model, a buoyant device and ditch kit combo. The demo boat’s safety equipment will be stored in the Life Cell flotation device, which will reduce the chance of the items being lost or unable to be found in time should the vessel’s occupants need to abandon the boat. The flotation device also provides a stable platform from which to operate safety equipment. 


“We are thrilled that Silver Ships has chosen to install Life Cell on their latest fire/rescue demo boat and in doing so, adopt best practices for storage of marine safety equipment to keep the crew safe,” said Jenny Aiken, CEO of Life Cell Marine Safety.


The demo boat is outfitted for firefighting, dewatering sinking boats, providing medical treatment, evacuations and search and rescue operations. The vessel showcases the capabilities and craftsmanship of both Silver Ships and Life Cell and how each participating vendors’ parts and components enhance the vessel’s safety and ability.


“We are proud to have Life Cell Marine Safety's products on board to add an extra level of safety to the demo boat,” said Steven Clarke, co-owner at Silver Ships. “Fire/rescue vessel operators often face challenging situations, and including these safety products can give extra peace of mind while they perform their missions.”


The demo boatwill debut April 23, 2018 at  FDIC Internationalin Indianapolis, exhibition booth 9247, where conference attendees can tour the vessel. It will also be at the SEAFCAnnual LeadershipConference in Montgomery, Ala. June 25 – 29. Throughout the year, Silver Ships will transport the demo boat and make multiple stops at trade shows and customers' headquarters for customer interaction and test drive opportunities. 



Life Cell Boilerplate


Silver Ships, Inc. produces high-quality aluminum boats for military, federal, state and municipal government as well as commercial applications through collaboration with highly skilled design, engineering and production resources. With corporate headquarters located in Theodore, Ala., Silver Ships' production facilities are situated on a 25-acre plant site and utilizes state-of-the-art boatbuilding equipment. The company's vision is to provide customers with a boat designed, built, outfitted and best-suited to meet their operational needs while offering the maximum in crew safety and outstanding performance. Learn more at silverships.com