Marine safety equipment has an unglamorous life – designed to stay out of the way as much as possible until a life-threatening emergency. Then it has to work perfectly, first time, every time.
Thanks to its vast experience and strengths in design, Australian company SOS Marine’s products have been delivering on the promise for more than 30 years.
SOS Marine started by providing safety equipment for water sports in the early 1980s.
The Sydney based retail operation quickly developed a reputation for delivering products that saved lives, fitting out more than 90% of Sydney’s 18-footer sailing fleets and two maxi-class racing yachts, before moving in to the highly-demanding world of defence.
Selling other people’s equipment yielded great background knowledge of what works and what specialist customers really need, which was all added to the mix when the company began designing its own equipment for marine scenarios from water rescue to high-risk tactical operations.
SOS Marine now provides specialist safety equipment to 12 defence forces and a myriad of public safety agencies worldwide, including Australia’s elite forces, navy clearance dive team and army bomb squad.
Its client list is a who’s who of agencies and forces conducting serious operations in marine environments, from the Australian Defence Force, Australian Customs, Immigration, Water Police Australia-wide, Federal Police, Marine Rescue and Pilots, ambulance services, even mining and construction industries and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
The company’s global footprint now includes New Zealand, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Canada, Norway, Europe, United Kingdom, Belgium, Poland, United States and the United Arab Emirates.
SOS Marine has provided inflatable lifejackets for the Royal Australian Navy for 20 years, and 10,000 more for Gulf Region Defence Forces, plus 25,000 field packs for the Australian Army.
The company supplies Australia’s elite forces with specialist assault swimmer’s buoyancy vests, waterproof drop bags, load-bearing vests and diving buoyancy compensators, built to survive the rigours of parachuting and fast roping.
The Australian Navy clearance diving team uses SOS Marine low-magnetic diving buoyancy compensators, shown to outperform the NATO Min Mag Standards, for mine countermeasures and marine tactical operations.
Sydney Olympics Police and Special Air Service security personnel used SOS Marine equipment. So did the athletes, with SOS Marine providing the official uniform dress bag.
SOS is always developing new products, such as the recently released SMRT SOS Dan Buoy.
The Dan Buoy is a self-inflating buoy designed to provide rescuers with a highly visual marker for a person in the water.
Once thrown into the water, the SOS Dan Buoy also sends out an alert signal automatically, transmitting GPS coordinates to a vessel’s chart plotter. The SOS Dan Buoy can also provide flotation for the casualty.
Managing Director Ross Spencer believes the company’s success stems from a combination of design flexibility and attention to quality, underlined by world-recognised DNV Quality ISO9001 accreditation. “SOS Marine’s experience provides flexibility to be adaptive with a wide range of design customisation of products, from the basic design to the most complex,” he said. “Several of SOS Marine’s award-winning products hold international patents and have NATO approval.”