Water and Ice Frisbuoy

Published on by

In 2013 there were a total of 381 drowning’s and water-related deaths from accidents or natural causes across the UK, according to a report published by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF). As in previous years, more than half of the deaths (227) in 2013 were in inland waters, such as tidal and freshwater rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

The Water and Ice Rescue Frisbuoy is an innovative, easy to use, highly reliable, life-saving rescue device, for use in a water or ice environment.

The Frisbuoy is a substitute for other rescue devices such as the large, difficult to throw white and red rescue ring, with heavy rope attached, which are often seen on boats and ships.

With the aerodynamics of a large Frisbee, the Frisbuoy can be accurately thrown to a struggling victim as far away as 24 metres (approx 80 feet).

The 24.5 metre of line wound around the outside diameter of the disc uncoils, as it spins - while sailing through its flight path. This bright yellow rope floats on the surface and can pull over 136kg (21 stone) through the water. Its sealed flotation chamber, with approximately 2kg of buoyancy, can keep the head of a 91kg (over 14 stone) individual above water as they are pulled to safety by the rescuer.

In a emergency situation, the rescuer grabs the looped end of the rope, then throws the disc past the individual in distress and pulls it back towards themselves. The distressed individual can grab either the rope or the disc and be steadily pulled to safety by the rescuer. Rescues can be performed from land, boat, or dock, making it safe for the rescuer as they can stay out of the cold/icy water.

The Water and Ice Rescue Frisbuoy can be used by emergency services personnel, lifeguards, sailors, fishermen, and anyone who engages in outdoor activities.

One such well publicised rescue happened in Minnesota in the early days of the Frisbuoy’s life.


This amazing photo of the ice rescue of David Hanson, who fell through the ice on Sweeney Lake in Golden Valley Minnesota, was taken by his wife Mim through their living room window.

In December 2002, despite the many “stay-off-the-ice” warnings issued due to the unseasonably warm weather in November and December, local resident David Hanson thought it safe to go ice skating on the Sweeney Lake located very close to his home. He fell through the ice about 100 yards from shore and, standing chest-high in water, found he couldn’t get out. His wife, who was watching from their living room window, called 911.

Golden Valley Police Officer Joe Dutton responded to the call. On his second throw Officer Dutton got the Frisbuoy to Hanson, pulling him out of the water and towed him to shore on his stomach.

Luckily for David Hanson, Public Safety Director Bob Hernz came across the Frisbuoy in October of that year, at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Convention in Minneapolis. He immediately recognized that the device with a rope wound around the middle would be useful in the hands of a first responder when time was of the essence. By mid-November, there were Frisbuoys in each of the City’s 10 squad cars.

After the incident Bob Hernz said “I think the simplicity and easy use of the Frisbuoy was well demonstrated by Officer Dutton’s rescue of Mr. Hanson. We are always looking for equipment to better serve Golden Valley residents.”

Many police and rescue services already carry this life-saving rescue tool and at Spectrum Healthcare we believe the Frisbuoy should be included in everyone’s rescue and safety equipment inventory.

Find out more about the Frisbuoy

Note: Quotes in this article were taken from an article published in Golden Valley City News / January-February 2003