David Nash - Survivor
Never for one moment did I ever expect to use it. To be honest, I just saw it as a costly but necessary expense to make myself legal for fishing offshore.
The EPIRB I’m talking about. That silent but unsexy sentinel of safety.
There it sat, snugly bracketed to the inside port wall of my boat; tucked up just below the front seat to the boat, enabling me to fulfil my legal obligations for fishing offshore.
That all changed one September morning in 2017. Attempting to anchor up in a 2-3 knot current, the anchor rope got fouled around the motor. After failed attempts to dislodge it, the anchor grabbed, pulling the boat, transom first, directly into the swell. I cut the rope, but not before a rogue wave rolled over the transom, flooding the cabin. In only a second or two, the boat capsized, mercilessly tossing myself and deckie into the sea. No time to grab the EPIRB. And now I am floating in some cranky sea, holding onto an upturned boat, 15kms offshore with no-one in coo-ee. My EPIRB; my only way to get anyone’s attention; is inside my upturned boat.
Obviously the fact that I am writing this testimonial means that I did manage to retrieve the EPIRB. However, swimming under the boat to release it from its cradle proved to be no easy task. It took a number of attempts. There was a moment when I was afraid when I wouldn’t be successful. But with great relief, 30 mins after activating the EPIRB, the rescue chopper was on the scene winching us out of the water. As such, I now feel very differently about my EPIRB. It saved my life.
However, the learning was clear. Whilst it was good management that I had an EPIRB, it was more good luck that I was able to retrieve it. There had to be a better way to have an EPIRB available in an emergency. They are right; It can happen so quickly. Mounted inside your boat is just not enough. I began to research options, and couldn’t find anything that seemed to tick all the boxes. Then at our fishing club safety day, I met the Life Cell. Tick! Immediately in love! An elegantly simple design to have safety equipment float up when you need it. Mounted now on my bait board for easy access, it almost makes the EPIRB look sexy.
I’m a fan and I can’t encourage you enough to have one on your boat too. Even though I hope you will never have to use it!
Kevin Horsley - Leisure Cat
Standard on all of our 9000 Kingfisher and an upgrade on the 8000 Sportfisher’s is the Life cell in a moulding we produce our customers love it and most go for the upgrade.
When the reasons and practicality behind the Life Cell becomes apparent to the new owner, they all are swept away by the convenience and feel much more confident about the aspect of safety on their boats.
When the chips are down and seconds are precious, the ability to grab all you need in one quick action and exit the vessel knowing you have a place for all of the occupants to stay together and all the tools to make you whereabouts known to the rescue authority is a driving factor in the purchase of this unit.
Most take for granted the safety gear they are required to carry and some even think of it as an annoyance, but those who know water, and know that situations and events that lead to the need and use of safety gear, often come without warning and every second counts, so the Life Cell, stored properly with all you in need in it, is a standard feature on the 9000 Kingfisher.
David Brodie - Survivor
I had first-hand experience using Life Cell not long after buying it, in February 2016. I was on an annual fishing trip to South west Rocks and travelling on my boat with three other mates on this particular day. We've been doing this trip for about the past 15 years and in that time I've done the bar crossing many, many times, at least 50 times each way. I would say that I was experienced with the crossing although it is always changing.
After a morning of fishing, the conditions outside started to turn so we headed in towards shore. We stopped at the front of the bar crossing and put on our lifejackets and observed the conditions for a while. There was another boat also standing off monitoring the conditions. We decided to go and picked up a wave which we were riding in on for approximately half the crossing. The bar was rough and unfortunately a large wave rose out of nowhere and collapsed on the back of the boat. It pushed us forward and we skewed us sideways, losing control of the vessel. Within a matter of seconds the motor was flooded and we were unable to start it. Another wave quickly broke on us and turned the boat over.
Read the rest of David's story on the blog.
Chief Executive Officer Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter
"I am pleased to be able to support the Life Cell as an integral piece of marine safety equipment. The concept involves the storage of all critical safety equipment in one housing which can be used as a flotation device. I believe the Life Cell is an essential item on any vessel and I have no doubt that lives will be saved as a result of this wonderful innovation. The Life Cell is endorsed by the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopters and we share their vision in reducing the number of lives lost at sea"
Boating Tragedy - Morton Island
Would like to share a story with you – in 2015 we were located on the northern end of Morton island. It was about 7am in the morning I was making breakfast on the boat for some children with the intention of taking them for a fish after breakfast. A small boat passed us heading out towards cape Morton. The sea was flat at that time and weather good. About 1 hour later we also headed out as well. About 4 hours later we saw rescue 500 fly over us. upon returning to the boat harbour marina we were told that there was a new boat on its first run that had sunk at cape Morton , the father didn’t make it – the 2 elder children had the epirb and were found floating holding on to the body .
We could not see them due to the building swell - If they had a – life cell – they would have been able to easily float as they didn’t have life jackets on and let of a flare and we would have seen them as we were only about 2 kl away from them and could have helped them. Very sad. 2015-08-09 Rescue 500 Rescues Yarraman man
50 Years of Boating Experience
"We don’t have a life raft on our boat, a Lagoon 400 catamaran. We undertake significant passages but it has always seemed just a bit too expensive and without several tonnes of weight In a keel we’re not going to sink in a hurry. What does give us pause is fire and we have made every endeavour to prevent it. Every sea-person dreads fire, and how fast it happens. Our refuge is our Zodiac and reasonable seamanship and ‘what happens if’ procedures. We have the grab bag and waterproof VHF and PLBs etc but one never knows. It can be so quick. So this fellow, Scott Smiles, comes aboard with a solution and I have put up my hand in a second. I have asked him to sell me the first Life Cell off the line. This is 50- years at sea and some very ugly weather talking. I had no hesitation in buying this affordable safety product on the spot."
Former Australian Cricket Captain and Boating Enthusiast
"This new Marine Safety Product called The Life Cell is a huge step forward in the safety of the boating industry and should definitely reduce the amount of fatalities on our waterways in the future. I know that Scott and Rick have put a lot of time and effort into the development of a top of the range safety product it will be received in the boating industry and it is a product that I would have in my boat for peace of mind for myself and my family"
Manufacturers Representative North America
"It's amazing to watch people try and create products that have a commercial value. But when the focus of the product is really more about an unfulfilled need... that then the market instantly recognizes.... the commercial value is a beneficial afterthought as your product skyrockets to success”.
Brandon Flack - Atlantic Marketing