The history of today’s inflatables began centuries ago when the Romans used animal skin-based contraptions for boats, such as reed rafts, bladders filled with air, and goatskin-lined boats. In the 19th century, inflatables were manufactured with rubberized fabrics to improve durability due to the discovery of the process to vulcanize rubber in 1838. Now, they are widely used for personal recreational use on lakes, rivers, and oceans—and for white water rafting, kayaking, inflatable rescue boat racing, water skiing, and fishing. To ensure the safety of these water activities, ISO 25649-1:2017—Floating Leisure Articles For Use On And In The Water – Part 1: Classification, Materials, General Requirements And Test Methods specifies requirements for floating leisure articles for use on and in water.
What Is ISO 25649-1?
ISO 25649-1:2017 specifies safety requirements and test methods related to materials, safety, performance for classified floating leisure articles for use on and in water—namely rivers, lakes, pools, and bathing beaches. Examples of floating leisure articles for use on and in water include inflatable, boats, bathing rafts, inflatable trampolines, climbing installations, inflatable floating armchairs, sun loungers, mini bar, sun shade, etc. The standard details that these floating leisure articles should be designed in a way that they are safe and usable in deep water where the user is out of standing depth. Via adequate labeling, ISO 25649-1:2017 maintains that it should be made clear to the consumer and user that these articles are intended for swimmers only, that they do not provide protection against drowning, and that they are not PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Moreover, the goal of the standard is to prevent the risk of drowning and body entrapment.
The History of Inflatables
Initially, in the early 1900s inflatables were used as life-saving devices (inflatable life rafts) helping those on the battlefield during World War II cross bodies of water more quickly and safely. In the 1950s, inflatables, such as inflatable boats and inflatable pools, became available for recreational purposes. Their unique buoyancy, portability, and lightweight designs made them popular for sailing over lakes and oceans or simply lounging in backyard pools. In the 1990s, inflatable advertising and decorations were invented that ranged from inflatable animals at car dealership lots to inflatable loungers for pool parties. Inflatables have developed significantly since they began being used recreationally; for example, there are now inflatable playgrounds, rock walls, bouncy houses, and water slides. Needless to say, they are used at a variety of events from festivals, theme parks, exhibitions, weddings, parties, and much more.
Watersport activities offer a fun whole-body workout. The feeling of calm and lightness in the water can help us unwind and relax. A watersport can be a way to reduce stress and anxiety because you will feel more energetic, focused, and relaxed just by being on the water—no matter which water sport you choose. Simply put, the water calms our minds by focusing on the activity, which helps give a sense of grounding and calmness; research suggests that water-based activities, such as swimming, fishing, or boating can help foster a sense of mindfulness, increase feelings of vitality, and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.