Space on boats is always at a premium, and despite a cheap offer price from the RNLI, Ward’s lifejackets are hardly being carried on naval and trade ships. For trade, space is money. For the Navy, space and less weight is a tactical advantage. Anyone who’s folded down the banquette seating in their yacht to make a bed every night knows that dual functionality of items aboard is vital.
The RNLI makes a renewed call for the Admiralty to experiment with the buoyancy of cork-stuffed hammocks. It outlines different tests to undertake and works out relative prices for ordinary horse-hair, coconut fibre and cork shaving fillings. A snip at half the price of standard issue horse hair, the cork version gives the Navy ‘an opportunity of practising economy and promoting efficiency at the same time’, as the shavings are a waste product that would otherwise be burned.