Illustrated by Natsumi
Have you had a near-drowning experience? I have twice. The first time was when I was about 10 years old. I was having so much fun in the river, and the next moment I found myself that I had been washed away to the other side of the river bank. I tried to swim back to where I was originally, but the fast flowing river water just kept pushing me downstream. Luckily I was able to hold on to tree branches grown on the river cliff until someone rescued me out of there. I still clearly remember that I felt like I was in the freighting situation for hours although it was probably more like some minutes.
The second time was when I was snorkeling with my then 7 years old son. He was snorkeling calmly looking at colorful fish in the water in a cove. I now sill don't understand why, but he all of sudden got panicked and began to keep pushing my head down into the water with an enormously strong force. We should've been totally fine swimming and breathing as long as we were swimming with snorkeling tubes in our mouths. But, he was absolutely out of control, and I really thought we were seconds away from drowning.
"Kingii" is really a "I wish I had" item. It is a wristband, and you will be in the water with the wristband on. When "you need help to stay afloat, pull the lever" on "Kingii", then the lever will pierce a CO2 cartridge inside, which will pop up an inflation bag to "pull you to the surface." It weights only 5.9 ounces, so wearing "Kingii" would not limit your water activities. "Kingii" is bright orange in color for high visibility, and it is hexagonal-shape for easier holdability. A whistle is attached to "Kingii", and it can be used to call one's attention.
It is interesting to know that the name "Kingii" is named after "the frilled-neck lizard", Kingii. When this lizard feels threatened or danger, it opens the frill widely to scare away a predator (to be out of the danger). It is almost like when someone is in trouble in the water, he can open an inflation bag by pulling "Kingii" lever to get himself out of the trouble.
"Kingii" is designed to be used by anyone older than 16 years of age. I personally wish that they have one for kids too. Instead of hexagonal shape inflation bag, if a familier looking doughnut shaped tube pops up, it might be easier for a kid to hold on to. I won't imagine that a smaller kid can pull a lever during an emergency, so an adult close by is the one to pull the "Kingii" lever on the kid's wrist in case of emergency. I have asked "Kingii" team if they would consider making the kids version, I will update if I get a response.
There were an estimated of 372,000 drowning deaths in 2012 worldwide accroding to WHO. To have a fun time in the water, we should always be aware of how to stay safe. "Kingii" clearly states that " Kingii" is not a personal flotation device and it cannot replace a life vest. Instead, Kingii is a recreational water device that may provide additional buoyancy to the water safety equipment that you already have."