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DHS and Coast Guard invite industry ideas to guide transportable mass rescue lifesaving device


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) in collaboration with the Coast Guard Research and Development Center will hold a virtual industry day from 1-3 p.m. May 25 to support its Mass Rescue Operations (MRO) Lifesaving Device Broad Agency Announcement (BAA). Through the BAA, innovators, industry, academia and laboratories will be able to submit ideas for a large-capacity floating device to keep survivors out of the water during mass rescue operations. The May 25 industry day is being offered to socialize and refine MRO device concepts and facilitate collaboration with industry.

The Coast Guard is looking for an effective solution to provide short-term lifesaving and rescue assistance in the case of disasters that render existing systems such as onboard lifeboats inoperable or infeasible. To mitigate loss of life, the Coast Guard wants to develop a non-standard, one-time use, large-capacity, ultra-lightweight floating device that will be deployed from air or vessel during a mass rescue operation.

“The search and rescue mission has been at the forefront of the Coast Guard’s history for centuries,” said Monica Cisternelli, RDC project manager.  “As the years have passed we have successfully incorporated new technologies and capabilities to improve our ability to respond to those in distress, especially mass rescue operations. We also know that private industry and individual innovators continue to look at this issue and ways to respond to it.”

For example, if a large ferryboat or cruise ship is unexpectedly stranded or sinking, the ship’s crew may not be able to deploy the lifeboats. Coast Guard aircraft or vessels could respond and deploy mass rescue devices at the scene to better maintain passenger safety until all can be rescued. This device would not have to meet Safety of Life At Sea requirements since it is a single-use device.

“The purpose of a large-capacity floating device is to solely keep survivors out of the water during an MRO,” said S&T program manager Angela Blair. “The commercial marketplace already has large flotation devices, but these are too heavy to be deployed from a USCG helicopter or easily lifted over a vessel’s bulwark for deployment.”

“The Coast Guard is excited to work with industry to develop this cutting-edge, mission-critical, lifesaving capability,” said Tom Gogal, program manager for Mass Rescue Operations with the Coast Guard Office of Search and Rescue.

Said Cisternelli:  “Industry day will provide a public forum for those organizations and people that have new ideas which we should consider. We owe it to the American people to be as ready as possible when the distress call is received or the emergency position indicating radio beacon is activated.”

To register for the virtual industry day, visit Mass Rescue Operations Lifesaving Device Broad Agency Announcement Industry Day on the S&T Events page. Visit the industry day announcement on for more information about the “Mass Rescue Operations Lifesaving Device Broad Agency Announcement” requirement and details on submitting questions.

For information on Coast Guard R&D: Research, Development, Test and Evaluation program page and Research and Development Center page.

For information on DHS S&T opportunities: Work with S&T