Furniture and Spatial Design/Interior Architecture

On the edge

How to develop measures to prevent drownings resulting from falls from land in Norwegian marinas?

What was the problem you wanted to work on/find a solution to?

Statistics from the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue shows that falls from land or quays topped the accidental drowning statistics for 2016, with an increase of nearly 40% since 2012. I couldn't get these figures out of my mind, so I started looking into the reasons behind the problem and then finding a way to help to prevent such accidents from happening in the future.

What have you discovered during the process?

There are no safety regulations for Norwegian marinas at present. The absence of rescue equipment and poor lighting makes the quayside a risky place to be. People who fall into the sea will find it difficult to see a way of getting out of the water. In addition, much of the equipment that exists is in such a poor condition that it constitutes a risk in itself.

How have you chosen to solve this task?

 I have chosen to develop a ladder, as a link between the quay and the water, as my point of departure. How the ladder is designed can make the difference between life and death. My work has focused on preventing people from falling off the edge. In the worst case scenario, however, when a person actually falls into the sea, it has been important to understand how the human body reacts and behaves in the water in order to design a solution that takes account of people’s instinctive reactions.

Lighting and colours have been key elements of the design. They are intended to aid visibility and make it as easy as possible for people to save themselves, or for others to come to their rescue.

With a design adapted to the human form, movement and intuition, the ladder functions as an extension of the human body. The form of the ladder is designed to signal that it is not to be used to climb down, but is intended as an aid to get out of the water

What significance could this have for society?

 Raising awareness of the problem is important in order to prevent drownings in the future. It is my hope that a standard will be adopted for Norwegian marinas, setting out requirements for safety equipment.

I want the ladder to be adapted to suit different Norwegian marinas and be implemented with one goal in mind – to save lives.

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