Mustang Celebrates 55 Years

Prince Charles (Now King)

Feb 7, 2023

More than five decades ago, Mustang Survival began engineering lifesaving solutions that push the boundaries of performance and what is possible in marine safety. Fifty-five years later, the company continues evolving and innovating, never losing sight of the goal to bring people home safe.

 Prince (now King)  Charles wearing his Floater Coat

“We remain committed to improving our customers’ experience on the water by expanding our recreational portfolio and strengthening our professional, military and government innovations.”

Pioneer in the design and manufacture of lifesaving solutions since 1967. Mustang Survival is committed to the protection and enhancement of those who push themselves to extremes, whether for work, duty, or to escape the daily grind.

The funny thing is, founder Irv Davies hadn’t set out to save lives; he just wanted a better winter coat. But during the design process, he discovered that the closed-cell foam in life jackets was incredibly insulating and helped preserve vital body heat in the open air and cold water.

Vintage FloatersAt the time, only bulky PFDs existed; they restricted movement and were so cumbersome most opted out of wearing them. Combining flotation, comfort, and protection from the elements negated the inconvenience of changing in and out of a life jacket and encouraged those on the water to keep it on.

1978 Vintage catalogue cover featuring The Floaters

Nine years after its inception, in 1977, Dr. John Hayward, a physiologist at the University of Victoria, developed a new design for the coat. Referred to as the UVic Modifications Batch, research participants at the Bamfield Marine Station on Vancouver Island floated in the frigid water of the Pacific Ocean, waiting for hypothermia to set in.

While the volunteers dreaded the miserable conditions, they participated because fishermen were losing their lives. The recent re-opening of the herring fishery in the adverse weather of the winter months had caught many unprepared. The testing proved the added flap of neoprene – the Beaver Tail – at the back of the jacket, when brought between the legs and secured to the front, delayed the onset of hypothermia. The new Thermofloat Coat won the Design Canada award that year, and the research collected went on to inform the creation of survival suits.


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