IRELAND — WHEN a seafarer in trouble dons a safety jacket to abandon ship and is forced to scramble overboard to save his life, the biggest enemy ahead of him is not necessarily drowning – but rather hypothermia.


A fisherman could be thrashing about the cold raging water for an age, and if a rescue is not forthcoming fairly quickly the outlook could be rather grim. Modern vessels have portable GPS satellite beacons on board that a seafarer can grab hold of. In reality though, in a panic situation most seamen have just about enough time and presence of mind to locate and don a lifejacket.


However, an innovative county Donegal firm, Mullion Survival Technology, has come up with an ingenious and profitable solution: the Mullion Jacket, which has a built-in Global Positioning System beacon and lighting system that is activated once the sailor hits the water.


The lifejacket also self-inflates and within seconds the nearest coast guard rescue are alerted to their exact location within several feet.


Appropriately enough the company motto is: "The sea shall not have them."


The lifejacket has won an endorsement from the Department of the Marine, who now mandate that every vessel under 50 feet must carry the equipment.


The company has also secured a contract to supply the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency with all their inflatable lifejackets for the next three years.


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