Comms in open water


Published:  01 April, 2009

Every water rescue responder knows that safety and clear communications are paramount to any water rescue operation. However, wind, engines, and the noise from water itself can compromise communications, which can have a knock-on effect on the success of a rescue operation.

K-based company Gecko Headgear designs helmets for water rescue combined with advanced communication systems. General Manager Dean Bunker explains that Gecko designed the GMSH 10 (Gecko Marine Safety Helmet) helmet, the perfect combination for the GRF10 head-mounted communication units.

The communications system’s microphone can be mounted on any MK10’s left ear aperture, whilst the radio is either worn on the body or hand-held. Naturally, the system is completely waterproof and the microphone cancels out exterior noise.

Bunker explains that Gecko has recently launched a new intercom system called RibCom, which facilitates and clarifies on-board communications. “This system allows rescuers to talk to one another very clearly without having to shout or move closer. With a radio transmitter only two people can speak at one time, but because the whole crew are connected to the RibCom system via a cable, all people can engage in conversation.”

The RibCom interfaces with a radio, which acts as an additional member of the intercom circuit, and all traffic received over the radio is made available to the other members in the group. The whole system is completely waterproof up to IP 67 regulations, and comes with easy-to-install mounting plates.

Bunker adds that the company is currently developing a blue tooth communications system, which will require no cable from the radio to the helmet

Gecko Headgear

Surfer Jeff Sacree founded Gecko in 1993, after he developed a lightweight helmet to avoid headaches in cold water. Other surfers weren’t picking up the product in great numbers, but in 1995 he contacted the Royal National Lifeboat Institute, whose personnel were wearing motorcycle helmets. Of course these were deemed unsafe, as they resulted in too much weight on the head. Sacree, however, set out to design a lightweight helmet for the RLNI and the result was the GMSH range of lightweight helmets.
In the following years, the company also started supplying the MoD and the Australian navy. “The GMSH helmets actually led to the first Marine Safety Standard in Europe in 1998, but since that time we have continually kept developing our equipment resulting in the comms system we manufacture now,” concludes Bunker.

  • Operation Florian

Sign up: eMagazine & eNewsletter

The latest issues in your inbox.

Company Profiles

Renka´s Fire Engine No. 1

Firefighting, fast, safe, everywhere. Michael Renka GmbH, based in Germany, is a manufacturer of firefighting vehicles, pumps and rescue equipment.

Waterax - We move water

Trusted by wildland firefighters around the world, WATERAX sets the industry standard by developing innovative, portable fire pumps and water-handling equipment designed to withstand demanding applications and rugged environments.

Big Water Flow for Industrial and Municipal Firefighting Applications

Protecting the lives of the public and firefighters while limiting the structural damage caused in large scale fires is our primary mission

We are committed to improving lives and doing business in the right way

We have a unique mix of capability and culture that we refer to as 3M Science and we strive to develop products that improve people’s daily lives in a multitude of ways.

HazSim - Bringing situational HazMat training to life

HazSim, LLC provides innovative simulation training to ensure your team works safely and effectively. HazSim Pro simulation equipment is in use by hundreds of fire departments, training schools, industrial fire teams, and private trainers across the US, Canada and further afield as well as the US Army.

The ultimate in innovation, quality and service

For 60 years Lehavot has been delivering the world’s most advanced fire detection and suppression automatic systems

Advancing rescue technology

The specialist supplier of quality PPE and Rescue Equipment to Emergency Services.

Revolutionizing fire fighting foam technology

The one-stop resource for fire fighting foam concentrates and custom-designed foam suppression systems hardware.

Trust the best, let us be your foam solution

AUXQUIMIA is a Spanish company whose main activity is the design, manufacture and commercialization of firefighting foam concentrates.

Williams Fire & Hazard Control offers a full line of specialized fire response equipment for oil and gas platforms

From storage tanks and pipeline emergencies to offshore platforms and vessels at sea, Williams' response personnel and specialized equipment quickly address adverse fire emergencies.

The leader in truck-mounted hydraulic platforms

Our mission is to provide the best and the safest solution to professionals that work at height.

If you want quality, you want Zico

Since its inception Ziamatic Corp has provided the men and women of the fire service with products designed to make their jobs safer and easier.

The independent alternative

Dafo Fomtec AB is a privately owned company with head office in Stockholm Sweden and manufacturing in Helsingborg in the south of Sweden.