In a pandemic, Island tinkerer grabs on to whatever floats your boat

Pieter Stegeman built rescue raft ‘Air-Float-One’ out of recycled materials to keep himself busy

Ladysmith handyman Pieter Stegeman has drawn on decades of marine work to create a survival float made almost entirely out of recycled materials.

Stegeman found himself with time on his hands at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and decided to put those hands to good use when he came across a pile of wooden debris.

He built the frame of a raft, he calls ‘Air-Float-One’ entirely out of the unused wood. The inside of the vessel is filled with empty one-litre milk jugs, other plastic containers to improve flotation.

“I got a little carried away, and kept on with it. I needed something to occupy my time, so I thought why not make an emergency device that could save somebody’s life,” Stegeman said.

RELATED: B.C. man turns nerdy hobby into a million dollar startup

RELATED: Island man designs walker with off-road capabilities

Air-Float-One comes equipped with a treasure trove of survival gear that includes everything someone would need if they found themselves stranded somewhere off-shore. It features a cooler that stores not only food and water, but ropes, zap-straps, duct tape, a first-aid kit, matches, a small knife, a can opener, an air horn, a phone charger, and a Cobra Marine Floating Radio.

Also inside the cooler is a battery that powers blinking lights on the edges of the vessel to help make it visible to rescue aircraft. Power from the battery can be diverted to charge cell phones, or the marine radio.

“It’s got pretty well everything you need,” Stegeman said.

Stegeman designed every feature on Air-Float-One to be easily adjustable or removable. He envisions Air-Float-One being used as a life saving device, but said it could also be used as a small work float, or teaching youths how to sail.

“When you’re out at anchor, and you want to go to the beach, you could use this. Or you could work on your boat. You could go around do painting, cleaning, or repairs,” Stegeman said.

Stegeman hopes to make more floats in the future. Contact Stegeman by phone at 250-816-7528, or by email at draglinenck@gmail.com.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

A full view of Air-Float-One (Submitted photo)

Just Posted

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

Horgan frustrated as Transport Canada mandate for BC Ferry riders returns

Transport Canada reinstates rule that bans passengers from lower decks

NDP solution to homelessness is to ‘warehouse’ people: BC Liberal leader

Andrew Wilkinson made a campaign stop in Campbell River and was asked about homelessness

Victoria Humane Society takes revenue hit after donation bins vandalized

Organization removes clothing donation bins after contents removed, scattered

South Island Transportation Strategy looks to reduce reliance on personal vehicles

EV charging stations, bike lockers, new park-and-ride stalls among solutions in Capital Region

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

Pedestrian dies in motor vehicle incident along the highway near Nanaimo Airport

Police investigating scene where 37-year-old woman from Nanaimo died

B.C. VOTES 2020: Few solutions offered for ‘out of control’ camping

B.C. Liberals, NDP spend millions as problem keeps growing

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

Parksville pedestrian airlifted to hospital in Vancouver after nighttime collision

Police report man’s injuries were ‘significant’ but not life-threatening

Shoplifting suspect allegedly spits on worker at store in Nanaimo

Suspect became aggressive when confronted by loss prevention officer at Walmart, say RCMP

Ladysmith man shocked out of his seat after $50,000 Keno win

Larry Salmond plans to purchase a new RV with his winnings

Cowichan Performing Arts Centre streaming new short film tonight

Standing By has been created and performed by Cowichan-raised actor Nicole Ratjen.

Most Read