Ditch that bulky life-jacket and grab a Kingii


For many of us, summer means ample time spent in or on the water. Whether it’s taking a dip in the pool, catching a wave, or casting a line, summer and water activities go hand in hand. Regrettably, many of us fail to take appropriate safety measures when taking in the summer fun. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I don’t enjoy wearing a life-jacket; they’re uncomfortable and bulky. Fortunately, there is an alternative on the horizon.

The Kingii is a life-preserver that’s small enough to fit on your wrist. It conceals a small, inflatable balloon and a CO2 cartridge. If you or a loved one is having difficulty staying afloat, simply pull the Kingii’s handle and the CO2 cartridge will inflate the balloon within a second. Once the balloon is inflated and you’re buoyant, you can use the Kingii’s attached whistle to signal for help. If you happen to find yourself alone, stranded in the middle of the ocean, the Kingii also has a compass so you know which way to paddle back to shore.

The Kingii is an IndieGoGo project with funding starting at $69. If successfully funded, the Kingii is estimated to start shipping in September.

12 thoughts on “Ditch that bulky life-jacket and grab a Kingii”

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  2. Just a little reminder.

    Many people think they don’t need a life jacket because they can swim.

    But what if you fell overboard without anyone on the boat realizing it for a while? (Yes, it’s very easy for that to happen.)

    You’re going to do a lot better waiting for help to arrive if you don’t have to tread water completely.

    Everyone on any kind of recreation boat should wear a life jacket at all times. Not just kids. Everyone!

    I know they look geeky and can destroy a full-body tan. But consider that the first thing that people do if you fall overboard is to throw a life jacket, you really should have one on before they get around to doing it.

  3. Sandee I agree with you and think that’s the whole point of the Kingii. It appears to me that they’re trying to create a device that will be just as effective as a life-jacket, but won’t be so big as to deter people from wearing it. Personally, I’d be much more likely to wear a life-perserver if it fit on my wrist.

  4. How is this device a good idea? It can’t inflate itself so if you’re unconscious or disoriented you’re dead. It won’t keep your head out of the water – the video conveniently stops before the girl gets to the surface. I’m guessing it’s because all you’d see was her wrist out of the water and her head still hanging below the surface.

  5. Is it coast guard approved? I looked on their site and I do not see any indication that it is approved. When the coast guard inspects your boat and finds these things, I doubt that they will be happy. You may be cited.

    If you want an unobtrusive life jacket, get one similar to these –

    Based on all of the above, I would suggest that you remove it from your site. The thing is dangerous.

    1. Well, it’s not completed, so I doubt they have had the opportunity to run a Coast Guard approval for this.

      That said, a life jacket is required (by international treaty, so this isn’t just a US rule) to be able to turn an unconscious person upright and hold their head above water when in place. (It may require the person to be conscious when they hit the water to activate it or put it on, depending on the type, which covers those ‘boat seats’ that you see often: They’ll hold you up when in place, but you’re expected to be conscious when you hit the water.) This won’t do that, so it fails that test, and would fail Coast Guard certification.

  6. Alan I actually wondered how it would keep your head above water at first as well. After thinking about it for a bit I assumed you could interlock your fingers and place them behind your head and use the balloon as a pillow to stay afloat. I do agree that the video should show the end result better though.

    1. And this comment is exactly why this is a dangerous device. If you try that in the water you’ll probably find you can stay above water conscious, but if you were to lose consciousness (from say hypothermia, a danger even in calm summer lakes if you’re in long enough) you’ll flip over – even if you could keep your hands together.

      Better would be to clutch it to your chest – but even that requires you to keep your hands together.

      It is perfectly possible to drown while using this device entirely correctly. An extra wrist strap – so it could hold your arms together over your chest – would help a lot, but there are existing, better options, even if you want to skip the bulk and constriction of a normal life jacket. (For instance: http://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-marine–ultra-slim-manual-inflatable-belt-pack–15911308 )

    2. It can’t. I had several conversations with the creator and I’m still not sure who the audience is for this device. You can see on the Kickstarter page that when deployed the person tucks it under their arm like a beach ball. Can’t imagine how you’d be able to keep that up for long.

      They’ll never get Coast Guard approval since it doesn’t keep your head above water regardless of how you use it.

      It’s a mystery how they got so much support. Obviously people that don’t know how to use a PFD or what they’re for. It’s completely the wrong device – if you can’t swim how are you going to stay calm enough to pull the lever and then maneuver it into useful orientation. If you’re unconscious or disoriented you’re dead.

      And lastly you have to purchase the CO2 canisters from them so it’s a pretty expensive little device.

  7. Donald I also understand your concern. The reason I like the device and decided to bring it to people’s attention was because I think it’s better than nothing. While I admit it might not be the best attitude, someone like me isn’t going to wear a life-jacket unless they are being forced to; however, this thing I would wear without complaint. Again, I 100% admit that’s about as stupid as saying I refuse to wear a seat belt, but realistically it’s how many people think.

  8. I think this is a good idea. No it doesn’t replace a life jacket especially for the ocean but does have its place. Would be good for swimmers as a bail out should they run out of energy etc. Also useful around docks piers etc for not so great swimmers.

    1. The thing is, a swimmer who’s to tired to swim is also very close to to tired to use this, as this requires active effort by the user for it to help. Given that there are already belt-pouch PFDs that are much safer to use, just as cheap, and nearly as unobtrusive (possibly more – a bulk on your wrist is more noticeable than a bulk on your waist) I don’t see the advantages.

  9. You should take this off your website. It’s irresponsible for you to promote this with your headline “Ditch that bulky life-jacket and grab a Kingii”.

    A PFD will work to assist a wearer in the following ways:
    1) it is passive and will do it’s job without user action (other than wearing it);
    2) save an unconscious/incapacitated user by turning the user on their back and head out of water.

    This device does neither of these things and is by no means a replacement for a PFD.

    You should take this off your website.

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