Inflatable Rescue Boats

Every time I think I have seen all of the inflatable items in the world, I find a new one that comes along. The cool thing about inflatable vehicles is the ability that they have to do things that a lot of normal vehicles cannot, like move around areas that normally aren’t traveled. This week, I’ll be talking about inflatable rescue boats, which aid lifeguards when swimmers or sea travelers are in danger.

The Otago Daily Times is reporting that two inflatable ships helmed by lifeguards have been circumnavigating New Zealand to commemorate a century of life saving on the New Zealand surf:

“Lifeguards circumnavigating New Zealand in two inflatable rescue boats (IRBs), covering more than 5000km, are scheduled to arrive at St Clair beach by about 2pm tomorrow, sea conditions permitting. The IRBs, commemorating a century of surf life-saving in New Zealand, safely crossed Foveaux Strait yesterday and stayed overnight at Mason Bay on Stewart Island, with intentions to get to Porpoise Bay, near Waikawa in the Catlins, today. While the two IRBs expect to be able to punch into the north swell with relative ease today, lone kayaker Tim Taylor remains stuck in Dunedin in his separate 5500km circumnavigation of New Zealand, awaiting safer kayaking conditions before resuming his southern route.”

However the trip has not been without its problems. Bad weather has caused a few delays because some of the routes that the boats take are extremely dangerous in rough weather conditions:

“They had to shelter in Breaksea Sound because of the bad weather for two days before they headed to Preservation Inlet, then made their next landfall at Oreti beach, Invercargill, on Saturday. Foveaux Strait on a bad day is considered one of the most dangerous passages in the world, but driver Blake Ingram said from Stewart Island yesterday that the six-hour crossing from Oreti beach to Mason Bay by 3pm was was “relatively flat”‘ with a rolling 2m swell and otherwise “favourable” weather.”

Media Inflatables Banned?

The world of inflatables is expanding by the minute, with newer, bigger and better ways of drawing attention to your business or entertaining a gaggle of children at a birthday party. There are bouncy castles, leisure inflatables and splash inflatables that will be fun at events, but what about grand openings and sales at new businesses? Your best bet would be some media inflatables or air blown inflatables to draw attention to your business. Unfortunately, some towns and cities are making it harder to have these types of inflatables outside of your business.

According to pjstar.com, business owners in Peoria, Illinois, have to go through a complicated and expensive procedure to have inflatables outside their offices or store:

“Inflatable balloons and the like need a special-use permit – a couple pages worth of application, some supporting documentation drawn from records business owners are almost certain to have, plus a fee of $500. The permit must go before the planning commission for a hearing and then get the OK of the City Council, which takes about 60 days. Both bodies want to ensure the final display won’t take up required parking – like a handicapped spot – and that it won’t impede the flow of nearby traffic or endanger the safety of motorists by blocking sight lines along the road.”

The editorial calls for reforms and lighter restrictions for businesses that choose to use inflatables as a means of promotion. Businesses in Peoria have been shunning inflatables because of the restrictions and it might be time for the applications to end, but with some rules in place:

“…a two-month delay does seem excessive, as does the cost. If the issue is revenue for the city, well, it’s getting none now because nobody is participating in the program…while it’s popular to bash local government, there needs to be some regulation; it can’t become a “free-for-all.” One can only shudder at the garish, bigger-is-better-and-biggest-is-better-yet displays if this were left to the imagination of some with pockets deep enough to pull “the sky is the limit” off. No matter how much leeway some folks want to give businesses, public safety and convenience should come first.”

The King Speaks to Inflatable Dolls

This Sunday, the stars of Hollywood will line up to attend the Golden Globes awards ceremony, which gives out trophies and accolades to the best examples of acting, directing, etc. in both TV and movies. One of the films that is slated to take home some awards is The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth as King George VI, who had difficulty speaking without a stutter. The film has received positively glowing reviews and is on almost every top ten list of the year, so expect it to get at least one Golden Globe this weekend.

One of the most interesting parts of the film’s shooting was how they made it seem that there were hundreds of people gathered in places to listen to the king speak throughout the movie – they used inflatable people! This article from the Telegraph and Argus discusses the usage of these inflatables:

“Central scenes in multi-award-winning film The King’s Speech involve large crowds of Bradford people – but among them are 1,500 inflatable mannequins. The Inflatable Crowd Company in Bingley used life-size models for the movie, partly filmed at Odsal Stadium, which is on release from today. Extras – many of whom turned up for filming in December, 2009, following an appeal in the Telegraph & Argus – were placed among inflatables in crowd scenes.”

According to the article, inflatable dolls only take moments to inflate and can save production costs up to 90% on the cost of extras. They are also easier in terms of costumes – since the dolls can be moved and inflated anywhere, the costumes are interchangeable or can be kept the same. They are never in focus, so time is saved for maximum efficiency. More and more I am surprised at the numerous possibilities for inflatables, from inflatable extras to inflatable protest rats and so on. I can’t wait to see what I find next!

Inflating a Roof

It shouldn’t be a surprise that inflatables are everywhere – we’ve discussed it in this blog at least every other week. With inflatable tanks, inflatable hospitals, inflatable holiday decorations, the list just keeps going on. One subject we have touched upon is the issue of inflatable roofs, which caused a major problem for the NFL some weeks ago. According to a previous post:

“A recent snow storm across the Midwest dumped more than 2 feet of snow in areas, causing limited visibility and near blinding blizzard conditions, according to Mail Online. This storm also came with consequences for the Metrodome’s Teflon-coated fiberglass inflated roof. It collapsed.”

Just because the Metrodome’s inflatable roof collapsed doesn’t rule out the production of more inflatable roofs in the future, does it? If it does, then a design studio from the Netherlands didn’t get the memo. According to Dezeen, Overtreders W created an outdoor pavilion that is totally mobile. The inventive part of this design is its inflatable roof, which is filled up by hot air coming from a stove used for roasting:

“It consists of two large picnic tables, a floating roof that provides shelter for the tables and a wood stove. The roof is blown up and lifted with hot air. The wood stove heating up the air is also the centre piece of the pavilion, to be used for making hot chocolate, roast chestnuts, pumpkin soup or jacket potatoes. The pavilion sits up to 40 people, anddzn The-Roof-That-Goes-Up-in-Smoke-by-Overtreders-W-1 lights their picnic in the dark autumn night.”

The one interesting note in this story is the placement of this structure, in three totally strange places seemingly unconnected to each other:

“It was installed in three different locations in the south of Holland: at a graveyard in Roosendaal, at an institution for mental health in Biezenmortel and at a graveyard in Breda.”