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An innovative search and rescue product from Australian manufacturer, SOS Marine, has been nominated in the lifesaving and safety equipment category at this year’s DAME Design Awards held in conjunction with the METSTRADE exhibition.

The Little Ripper rescue system comprises a drone equipped with a Rescue Pod that can be dropped to swimmers in distress or sailors lost at sea. The re-usable pods include an automatically inflatable support platform strong enough to support three or four people, an electromagnetic ‘Shark Shield’ deterrent device, SOLAS lights for night rescue, and a large sea anchor to stabilise and reduce drift.

The Rescue Pods are also called ULBs which, says SOS Marine, stands for “You Little Beauty”, something which a person in distress may well be prompted to say when they see one.

The Little Ripper swings into action at Bondi Beach.
The Little Ripper swings into action at Bondi Beach.

According to SOS Marine, the design mission of the Little Ripper was to create a globally-leading search and rescue (SAR) service utilising unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to speed up the process of saving human lives. Capable of delivering assistance to people in distress until they can be rescued, the drone also provides GPS co-ordinates for the rescue services. The system is designed to be less expensive to operate than established rescue helicopters.

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