Inflatable alternatives to life vests have been around for almost a century with devices incorporated into belts, braces, and even jackets. The Kingii is aimed at active watersport enthusiasts and consists of an inflatable nylon bladder folded up in a pouch and integrated into a wrist strap along with a bespoke CO2 cartridge. Pulling a lever inflates the bright orange bladder in about one second, providing emergency flotation.
In addition to the bladder, there's a whistle to signal for help and a button compass to help in navigating back to shore. After use, the bladder can be deflated, refolded, and repacked in its pouch. Attach a new CO2 cylinder, and its good to go.
“After I lost a friend in a preventable drowning accident, I developed Kingii as a way to promote the importance of water safety and, hopefully, end this type of tragedy once and for all,” says Tom Agapiades, founder of Kingii. “Kingii is the perfect alternative to life jackets for beginner and advanced swimmers of any age. Now, for those who would previously forgo wearing a life vest, they can have the same security without the restrictions or discomfort.”
The Kingii Indiegogo campaign runs through July 29 and is already well past its original US$65,000 goal, having raised $441,336. Premiums include an Early Bird special of a Kingii and two cartridges for $69 going to the first 300 backers up to a Big Impact Retailer Package of 20 Kingii and 40 cartridges for $1,399. Deliveries are slated for September 2015 if everything goes to plan.