Drowning Prevention by Design

Drowning Prevention by Design
Author: Conrad, Franziska and Devall, Lucy (16 September 2020)


This paper presents an overview of an exploratory case study collaboration between Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in support of an RNLI delivery programme for international community management of drowning prevention in low-resource environments. The study focuses on the development of low-volume public rescue throw-lines that can be community made and maintained, the assembly and use of which are supported by a set of RNLI-developed instruction manuals intended for universal dissemination. The study examines the clarity of the instructions in the context of the makers’ interpretation of the manuals within the local constraints of Zanzibar. Preliminary findings indicate that these universally intended instruction manuals, in their current format, are open to interpretation, producing unsafe drowning prevention rescue lines that do not meet safety-critical standards. A re-design of the manuals through creative collaboration in a local context are the outcomes of this research. Discussion is also given as to whether a universal instruction manual should be the desirable outcome.

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