Yamaha WaveRunner files patent for ski-to-ski rescue alert system

Yamaha has filed a patent for a rescue button on future WaveRunners that will alert other craft in the vicinity that a rider needs help. It follows Kawasaki Jet Ski’s recent applications for similar technology.

Yamaha WaveRunner has joined Kawasaki Jet Ski in filing patents for emergency signal technology for future models – and industry analysts are now wondering if market leader Sea-Doo is about to do the same.

According to US patent applications lodged last month, Yamaha WaveRunner is working on an emergency rescue system that would alert nearby watercraft – fitted with the same technology – that a rider is in urgent need of help.

For now it is not clear what technology Yamaha plans to use to raise the alarm – and how it will transmit and receive the emergency signal.

It is also unclear whether the Yamaha and Kawasaki systems will ‘talk’ to each other.

For now the Yamaha technology is assumed to work only between Yamaha models.

Yamaha is yet to disclose over what distance the technology will operate.

The description in the patent says “within a predetermined communication range”.

However, the company says the technology is designed to operate “beyond the visual range” of the watercraft in distress.

According to Yamaha’s patent filing in the US lodged last month: 

“An operator of a watercraft, when encountering some kind of trouble during navigation, (can) inform another watercraft navigating nearby of the occurrence of an emergency by using a tool such as a whistle, a smoke marker, or so forth.

“Alternatively, the operator calls for a rescue service by using a communication means such as a mobile phone.

“However, in order for the operator of the troubled watercraft to successfully inform another watercraft of the occurrence of the emergency by using the tool, (the rescuing) watercraft needs to be located … within the field of view of the troubled watercraft.

“Because of this,” the patent continues, it can be difficult for riders in distress to raise an alarm in remote waters where there is “low marine traffic” or “poor visibility” such as on vast lakes or in wild ocean swells.

“In calling for a rescue service, the operator of the troubled watercraft is supposed to wait for the arrival of a rescue team from a far-away base, which takes a considerable time for the operator to be rescued.”

However, the patent continues, “when a watercraft of an acquaintance (is) nearby, the operator of the troubled watercraft can be quickly rescued” by activating the proposed built-in alarm.

For now, the Yamaha patent application does not show exactly how an emergency warning will appear to other nearby watercraft.

The US patent filing says an emergency message received by nearby watercraft “may be a text or an icon, for example” on the vessel’s digital display.

“The emergency information includes information indicating the position of the watercraft from which the distress signal has been transmitted,” the US patent application continues.

“The emergency information may be an icon, for example, displayed on a map to indicate the position of the watercraft from which the distress signal has been transmitted.

“The emergency information may include a voice or alarm sound without being limited to items displayed on the map.”

Yamaha’s patent filing follows similar applications lodged by Kawasaki Jet Ski, which you can read about here.

Want to know more about the Yamaha patent filing? You can read Yamaha’s entire patent application here.

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