SECUMAR – unique through consistent research and innovation

Many companies have made safety at sea their area of work. However, hardly any of them have approached the subject with such high requirements and with such sound scientific knowledge as Bernhardt Apparatebau GmbH & Co from Holm, near Hamburg, Germany which for more than 60 years now has manufactured the most innovative lifesaving equipment under the brand name of SECUMAR. Logically consistent research and demand for top quality has helped Bernhardt Apparatebau attain a world leading position in this field.

The starting point for this unique development was the foundation research carried out by the company’s founder, Jost Bernhardt. His father Karl Bernhardt had been manufacturing diving equipment since 1926, so Jost Bernhardt decided to turn to the area of emergency sea rescue equipment after the war.

The tragic loss of the training sailing ship “Pamir”, with the loss of 80 men, even though some were wearing lifejackets, had left its mark on him, so in 1957 Jost Bernhardt intensified his research into the physics of the principle of floating. His publications “Zur Problematik der Schwimmweste” and “Der Mensch im Medium Wasser” (1958/1959) analyzed the techniques known at that time, uncovered their weaknesses and formed the basis for the construction of far more effective lifesaving equipment. The first milestone came in 1958 with the introduction of a lifejacket that could protect its wearer from drowning even when unconscious.

There followed a period of research and development which was just as consistent as it was continuous and led to constantly improved and innovative products. In 1964 there was a significant thrust forward when the German Navy decided on the SECUMAR MRS 3 as their standard lifejacket. The German Army and Naval Forces of many other nations have shown confidence in SECUMAR lifejackets ever since.

Likewise the research efforts brought a further outstanding event, the licensing of the SECUMAR BS 8, a compact, fully automatically inflated lifejacket that was activated through contact with water. Initially developed for inland waterway navigation, this concept also lead to a breakthrough in leisure boating use.

As a result, the technology of the lifejackets has become more and more refined: the construction of the automatic release mechanisms, already in their fifth generation, has become more robust and by means of a ‘traffic-light system’ increasingly fool-proof. The buoyancy chambers have become more durable due to new materials and processes and their airtight properties more reliable and the complete lifejackets have become more efficient because of shape, design and additional components such as emergency beacons and spray hoods.

The company is certified in accordance with ISO 9001:2008, has a team of 100 specialists and an annual turnover which amounts to a double-digit million-Euro figure. Through its cooperation with international sea rescue services and many industrial, commercial and leisure users, it has not only an intensely thorough view of present practice, but also places great demands for the future on research, development and design of all product components.

The company’s philosophy is to continuously develop tailor-made solutions in lifesaving equipment to meet existing and future customer requirements for equipment to protect them from drowning in any given situation.

There is never a 100 percent guarantee when one is exposed to the powers of nature. However, Bernhardt Apparatebau strives constantly to obtain the closest possible proximity to this 100 percent target.

Quality Management DIN EN ISO 9001:2015

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A walk through the production facility.

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SECUMAR world’s first lifejacket museum.

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For decades now, SECUMAR has year by year kept the watersport community up to date on its innovations and practical products via its catalogue.

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