It’s easy to be swept away by the romance of sailing the high seas. Feeling glamorous, however, is another matter, especially when you’re yoked by a bulky?and let’s be honest, ugly?life jacket. Thank the fashion gods for Kathleen Westerhout and Dana Ramler, a pair of Canadian designers who aren’t about to let their fear of Davy Jones’ locker get in the way of looking chic on deck. Their bandeau-belt is a personal flotation device that could easily pass for a regular accessory?that is, until you unzip and inflate the hidden life preserver tucked within.

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Despite attempts to educate boaters about the importance of life preservers?and the number of deaths that could have been prevented with the right gear?wear rates remain low. “Wear rates are directly related to the comfort, bulk and stylishness of the device,” says Westerhout. “The stigmas surrounding safety equipment also contribute to low wear rates.”

The bandeau-belt could easily pass for a regular accessory?until you inflate the hidden life preserver.

Westerhout and Ramler paired up with Mustang Survival, an American purveyor of military and survival products, to develop a personal flotation device that didn’t draw comparisons to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Wrapped around the waist, the bandeau-belt comes in three different styles that can be coordinated to almost any outfit.

In case of emergency, simply pull the inflation cords to activate the carbon-dioxide canister. (You can also manually inflate the device.) The inflatable bladder that emerges from within the belt can be placed over your head, allowing you to bob safely on the waves until the calvary arrives.

+ Belt Bandeau

[Via Fashioning Technology]