The BoatU.S. Foundation is sponsoring an Innovations in Life Jacket Design Competition, with entries due Feb. 1.
The foundation has teamed with Underwriters Laboratories and the Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association to seek technologies and design innovations that could rethink a 100-year-old design.
"The interest in new, more comfortable designs [is] always important to waterway users," said Chris Edmonston, BoatU.S. vice president of boating safety, in a statement. "While current models of life jackets save lives every day, many are still bulky and uncomfortable, leaving boaters reluctant to wear them. This competition hopes to challenge that mindset."
The entries will be judged on four criteria: wearability, reliability, cost and innovation.
In early February, video of all entries will be posted at the foundation's channel at YouTube.com. The public will be asked to select a group of finalists.
The finalist entries will be reviewed by a special panel of judges convened at the International Boating and Water Safety Summit March 6-9 in Savannah, Ga., where the winner will be announced. A $5,000 cash award goes to the winning designer.