Water Rescue Training Dummies

Ruth Lee Water Training Manikins

The Ruth Lee Water Training Manikins/dummies are used extensively by NATO forces, British and US Navies, 100% of UK Fire Services, Malaysia Civil Defense and all the sea agencies.

Originally developed in conjunction with the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (R.N.L.I), Greater Manchester Fire Service Water Incident Support Section and the British Navy; these dummies perfectly simulate unconscious casualties in water.

The Water dummies can be supplied in two forms, ‘man overboard’ or ‘search and ‘. The Man Overboard models have been given NATO stock number – 0472-99-7837372

1. The Man-Overboard manikin is the more buoyant of the two and is designed for use in open water and rough seas; it is supplied with bright orange overalls and SOLAS reflective tape on the head and is designed to be as conspicuous as possible.
These models now have two pockets added to the lower legs of the overalls – to make the manikin float horizontally you simply remove the 4 foam pieces from the front chest of the overall and add two pieces to the pocket on each leg.
It will take seconds to swap between a horizontally floating manikin and the standard position. The man overboard model is guaranteed to be unsinkable!

2. The Search & model is more borderline when it comes to buoyancy and is only suitable for inland / calm water.
It has 6 pieces of foam to the front overall pocket which can be removed to reduce buoyancy further if required. We now offer a 10Kg ‘divers pack’ that can be fitted over or under the overall – this pack (10Kg) coupled with the reduced foam inside the dummy will quickly sink it to the sea / river / pool for diver / lifeguard training.
The S&R model has a mesh panel to the top of the head to allow the air to exit and the manikin to sink more quickly – it is supplied with black overalls, and a black mesh hood to cover the head. This model is designed to be as inconspicuous as possible to enable the teams to practice their search, as well as their recovery techniques.

Construction is similar to the General Purpose range, but utilizes a heavy-duty Nylon mesh for the carcass and non-absorbent closed cell foam for buoyancy. The nylon mesh carcass allows the water to flood out of the dummy as it is being recovered, it further allows better ventilation when the dummy is hung up to dry. Strong plastic strips run from the shoulder area to the knee joint, these strips allow flexibility in and out of the water, but do not allow the dummy to bend in half when the patient is lifted from the front; this modification facilitates easier s using stretchers or recovery devices like a Jason’s Cradle.

With the addition of the Thermal Tabard accessory and heat packs, rs can practice searches using their thermal imaging cameras.

For alternative scenarios where the patient is basically un-injured and well, such as Man Overboard from a yacht or IRB s or racing, see our Conscious Casualty dummy. Both Man-Overboard and Search & models are available in adult 40kg and Youth 20kg sizes.

All water training dummies are supplied complete with Wellington boots which greatly protect the legs if the dummy is dragged along the ground – they are user-replaceable if damaged.

The protective overalls keep the dummy clean, and greatly increases the lifespan of the dummy; they are produced using polyurethane coated polyester, coloured either in orange (to BS EN 471) for the Man-Overboard model or black for the Search and model.

The overalls are reinforced with high density polypropylene webbing in identified high stress areas. The ends of the arms have open nylon mesh to allow water draining. The overalls are machine washable and replacements are available as spare parts. The secret to the realistic Water dummy performance is the designed balance of the weighting vs. the buoyancy – and the tough nylon mesh carcass. When the dummy enters the water the nylon mesh allows the water to rapidly penetrate the dummy. After a few minutes the legs of the dummy will drop below the surface, resting at an angle of about 45 degrees to the surface, the head and shoulder will be above the surface.

When retrieving the dummy the water will flood out; the rate at which the water drains out is directly related to the speed of the retrieval – the faster the retrieval the more water in the dummy and therefore the heavier the dummy will be. As a guide, a fast ‘snatch’ retrieval may almost double the dry weight of the dummy ie: 40kg dummy will weight about 70kg. A more realistic retrieval rate will result in a haul of 50-60 kg.

The Man Overboard Manikin can be seen in the video below being used in conjunction with the Sea Scoopa Man Overboard Device. The manikin is being used in the horizontal position in this clip.

Note the lifting loop at the back of the head – the dummy can be lifted and hung up to dry using this.

The Search & dummy has an optional black nylon mesh hood that can be fitted to the head of the dummy to lower it’s visibility. A simple draw string holds the hood on securely.