What is Bottle Buoy?

It is estimated that each year 372,000 people drown and 90% of these deaths occur in low income countries. This is mainly due to poor swimming skills within communities and the high monetary costs of rescue equipment and improving water safety infrastructure. Bottle Buoy is a purposely designed low-cost floatation device that aims to remove these barriers of implementation by being significantly cheaper than existing products available.


Bottle Buoy


Bottle Buoy comprises of a single piece plastic, or wooden part,  that when combined with three reclaimed 2 litre soft drinks bottles, gives sufficient buoyancy and form factor to be a capable throw-able rescue device. Alternatively it can be used as a useful training tool helping individuals learn to swim and master a number of different swimming techniques.


Bottle Buoy


The final production version will be plastic injection moulded however it can also be produced locally out of wood using the available, open source manufacturing guidelines, thus providing work for local manufacturers or simply enabling individuals to produce Bottle Buoy for personal use.

The product is currently under development by the RNLI and a design team from Bournemouth University’s Faculty of Science & Technology, however once designs have been finalised the aim for Bottle Buoy is to generate maximum impact and hopefully save lives. Please see below more details relating to the product and keep visiting the latest news section of this website for further developments. Finally if you have any questions or would like to know more information about Bottle Buoy please contact us using this contact form .

‘It’s one of those ideas that, when you see it, you can’t quite believe how simple it is, or why no-one has thought of it before. It’s a plastic or wooden core which you secure three bottles to. The bottles are empty and sealed, and the air trapped inside gives the device incredible buoyancy – enough to keep a casualty afloat in the water until help can arrive.’

Stuart Thompson – RNLI

“We’ve chosen James because it’s a life-saving response to a real problem which has been designed in an elegant way and accessible for the people who need it.

James demonstrated great design thinking practices to frame and interrogate the problem.”

Mars Chocolate Award Winner – New Designers 2015

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