#166 – Glow-in-the-Dark Rope: The Applications of the Best-in-Class Night Saver

Night Saver Rope illuminates the path to safety in marine, outdoor, and firefighting applications

While working on oil rigs in Australia, Matthew Moore watched a colleague nearly drown.

After the man plunged over the side of a supply vessel into the sea, others onboard started tossing him life rings. But the panicked man couldn’t see the lifelines in the fast-dimming light of dusk and the smoky conditions near the oil rig.

Fortunately, the current pushed him to a side of the boat where rescuers managed to scoop him out of the water. But the incident stayed with Moore, and the seed for a life-saving product was planted. There had to be a way to make marine rope easily visible in dark, foggy, or smoky surroundings.

Moore’s family has been immersed in Canada’s rope industry for 65 years, and through their connections, he learned about a new luminescent synthetic fiber created in Switzerland. Moore secured sole rights to the material and, with his father, developed Night Saver Rope, a buoyant rope that glows in the dark – lighting the path to safety for people in distress and first responders conducting rescue operations.

Manufacturing Night Saver Rope
Racks of the glow-in-the-dark fiber used in the Night Saver Rope. Its luminescent properties allow the rope to illuminate for up to eight hours. Source: The Globe and Mail

In this blog, we explore the many uses of Night Saver Rope and why it stands out in maritime, fire safety, camping, and many other applications.

You can also feel free to skip to our online selection of glow-in-the-dark rope, as well as standard rope that’s UL-listed and approved by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) as technical life safety rope.

A patented pigment offers eight hours of illumination

Here’s how the Night Saver achieves its long-lasting glow: the rope is made of standard polypropylene yarn infused with a patented pigment. The pigment acts like an old-school watch dial: basking in sunlight – or even ultraviolet rays on cloudy days – stores up energy that makes the rope glow. A four or five-hour “charge” enables the rope to illuminate for up to eight hours.

Reflective tape that runs every two centimeters along the rope’s length further enhances its visibility, causing hundreds of reflective bits to shine when hit by a light source, like a spotlight beam.

The company Moore created with his father, Canada Rope and Twine Ltd., manufactures the rope in Nova Scotia to the SGS-certified ISO:9001-2015 standard, a global benchmark for quality and integrity. Its pink, orange, or yellow product is available in a variety of lengths, ranging from the 100-foot size required for rope attached to life buoys to a 1,200-foot rope popular in firefighting rescue situations.

Moore says the Night Saver is ten times stronger than steel wire rope, a standard buoyant rope, and unlike conventional poly, it has built-in UV inhibitors, so it won’t deteriorate as quickly in the sun or a harsh marine environment. While it costs about 10 percent more than typical heaving and rescue lines, it is the only fully buoyant, industrial-grade product on the market that illuminates, creating a highly visible reference guide back to safety.

There are a few other glow-in-the-dark ropes on the market by companies like Atwood Rope, Harbor Freight, or Everbilt, but they can’t carry nearly as much weight and have a significantly lower breaking strength. Most are only semi-buoyant, and some tend to rely on glow methods like luminescent paint that don’t last as long and could even cause the rope to deteriorate, threatening reliability.
In 2017, the Canadian Safe Boating Awards (CASBA) awarded Canada Rope and Twine its Marine Industry Award for introducing a marine rope product that improves boating safety.

Spinning Night Saver Rope
A machine braids Night Saver Rope, the only industrial-grade, fully buoyant, glow-in-the-dark rope on the market. Source: The Globe and Mail

Glow-in-the-dark rope improves safety in jobs and adventures

Let’s take a look at some of the most common uses for Night Saver Rope:

Marine rope that saves lives in man overboard emergencies

The 11/32-inch diameter size of the Night Saver Rope is a popular choice for throwlines in the commercial fishing industry, where rough waters, the potential for capsizing, and long days at sea make drowning a significant risk. In the U.S., the fatality rate among commercial fishermen is a whopping 23 times higher than all other workers, and loss of life on fishing vessels is on the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s watch list – meaning it considers the number of related accidents and deaths to be unacceptably high, at an average of one per month.

This marine rope doesn’t only have the potential to save lives in the fishing industry, of course. The World Health Organization ranks drowning as the third-leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide.

An industrial-strength, glow-in-the-dark marine rope able to guide distressed people to safety in low-visibility environments can make any maritime situation safer, including oil rigs, cruise liners, coast guards, kayak clubs, and cave and underwater diving. It is also garnering interest from the leisure market from individuals who own yachts and other pleasure boats.

The chemical properties that strengthen the Night Saver’s resistance to environmental factors like UV light and salt water also important for marine applications. Serious injuries have occurred on boats when environmental degradation causes tension-filled marine ropes to snap. Even so, Canada Rope and Twine recommends that Night Saver Rope that’s regularly exposed to harsh marine environments should be replaced every year and a half to ensure strength isn’t compromised.

Night Saver Rope on a boat
Source: Canadian Yachting

Preventing firefighters from becoming lost or disoriented in burning structures

Firefighter disorientation – a loss of direction due to lack of visibility in a structure fire – is a hazard that often plays a factor in firefighter fatalities. Depleted air supply, falling debris, building collapse, and sudden flashover or backdraft pose serious threats to disoriented firefighters.

The UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute reports that the increasing use of synthetic materials in buildings, furniture, and appliances is changing structural fires, creating thick, black smoke that quickly leads to zero visibility. Deploying a glow-in-the-dark search rope is like posting neon exit signs for a firefighter.

The 3/8-inch diameter Night Saver in the 600-foot or 1,200-foot length is used by firefighters to help them retreat from untenable interior positions. It’s small enough to be flexible when it’s tied or looped onto objects to mark a path, and not too cumbersome to pack alongside all the other gear firefighters lug. That diameter is also big enough to be located and held with a gloved hand. It can be easily knotted as well, a system firefighters often use to indicate distance or direction as they move throughout a large, difficult-to-navigate structure.

The high visibility of a glow-in-the-dark search rope provides confidence and orientation that could help hasten a search team’s progress into a structure. Rapid intervention teams can use the Night Saver to leave an easy-to-follow trail so help can locate them after they are deployed to find a downed, lost, or injured firefighter. Night saver rope is only appropriate for use as search rope in firefighting applications, however. It is not listed for use as lifesaving rope, escape line, or other any other kind of NFPA-compliant life safety rope application.

Enhancing safety at outdoor jobs or adventures

The outdoor adventure industry has shown great interest in the 1/2-inch and 3/8-inch diameter sizes for campers, mountain climbers, hunters, and hikers, marketing the rope as:

  • A guide along dark paths,
  • a strong and easy-to-see hoisting device,
  • a marker that helps avoid injuries from tripping over hazards like tent stakes at night,
  • a binding to easily locate important gear in the dark,
  • and much more.

It’s also being used as a visual safety reference, blocking off unsafe terrain at venues like farms, outdoor festivals, and concerts at night. In Alaska, it’s even serving as guidelines for dog sled races.
Glow-in-the-dark rope can also improve safety conditions for workers who operate in dark environments like mines or forests, or who work outdoors at night, such as in construction or agriculture. The entertainment industry is showing interest in the 5/8-diameter size as well to improve the visibility of ropes in theater productions or on movie sets.

Coiled Night Saver Rope

Buy glow-in-the-dark rope from QRFS

The Night Saver is a best-in-class tool that can dramatically improve the safety of any commercial or recreational activity where people struggle against low-visibility conditions, from deep sea fishing to firefighting and camping. And as the strongest product that glows in the dark and is fully buoyant, Night Saver Rope is a highly visible, reliable lifeline to safety that’s unique to the market.
If you’re looking to purchase the Night Saver, browse our selection of glow-in-the-dark rope:

QRFS also offers standard, high-quality rope that’s UL-listed and approved for use by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) as technical life safety rope.

Have questions or need a length that’s not offered? Call us at +1 (888) 361-6662 or email support@qrfs.com.

This blog was originally posted at blog.qrfs.com. Keep up with fire code, emerging trends in safety and fire protection, and more by visiting us at Facebook.com/QuickResponseFireSupply or on Twitter @QuickResponseFS.

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