Parten Family

Randy Parten with his wife, Regina, and son, Calvin, with a Rescu Swim’r device. (Hailey Palmer/Lynden Tribune)

Rescu Swim’r cuts rescue time by over half

BLAINE — Randy Parten, owner of The Dream Boat Company in Blaine, was pulling his son, Calvin, and friends in an innertube on their boat last summer when he realized how unsafe getting them back onto the tube and into the boat was.

“He and his friend were in the water and I was bringing our boat, which is about 30 feet, back to them and I thought, ‘This is incredibly dangerous,’” Parten said. “I’m a really highly skilled and legally qualified operator of my own boat and I thought ‘There’s gotta be a better way to do this. We’ve got to get a rescue device away from the boat.’”

That’s where Rescu Swim’r comes in. It’s a device that attaches to a flotation device with a rudder that makes the device tow at a 45-degree angle from the boat. Once the boat is slowed down, the device tows at a 90-degree angle from the boat. 

Parten said part of the problem with trying to get a flotation device to someone who has fallen overboard is, without Rescu Swim’r, the device won’t follow the boat at an angle. He said he studied over 150 man overboard cases when coming up with the idea for Rescu Swim’r. 

“You should keep the boat away from a person and when you’re simply towing that on a rope by itself, it follows the boat,” he said. “How do we keep the boat away from the person and get the device to the person? You start doing these weird maneuvers and things and it takes a lot of time. You get to where you’re just turning a circle around them you’ll never get to them.”

In the product testing, the average time for a boat operator to safely get a rescue device to someone who has fallen overboard without Rescu Swim’r is nine minutes and 51 seconds. The average time with Rescu Swim’r is one minute and 14 seconds. 

Parten said most boat operators in a situation where they need to rescue someone overboard fall into a sense of panic. He also said more often than not, the person that has fallen into the water is the one with the most boat operating experience, leaving someone in the boat with minimum experience operating a boat. He took that into consideration when creating Rescu Swim’r. 

“With the Rescu Swim’r on a boat, someone with zero operating experience and someone with great experience can get the device to someone six times faster,” Parten said. “That really is independent of skill. There’s no maneuvering required. My education is in psychology, I’ve built this around a panic response.”

One in five drownings are fatal in the first two minutes, but the average time of rescue with Rescu Swim’r being under two minutes makes it possible to get more people from the water back into a boat. 

“If you get them in a minute and a half, they’re going to be cold, but they’re going to be fully capable and fully motivated to get back on that boat with adrenaline going,” Parten said.

Throughout the process of creating Rescu Swim’r, Parten was helped by his wife, Regina. Gary Cordrey and Kelsey Morrison also made invaluable contributions, Parten said. 

Rescu Swim’r is available for purchase now after a patent was filed in November 2018. A portion of all proceeds go toward the Parten-Brightwell Youth Boating Project, an organization that aims to help get Whatcom County youth on the water.