The idea behind Pat Hughes’ slimmer life jacket came when someone drowned at his first triathlon.

Hughes, whose company, Hyde, won the Governor’s Business Plan Contest yesterday, decided to make a thinner life jacket that people can inflate during emergencies.

“I was incredibly saddened by how tragic it was and how preventable it all seemed,” Hughes said.

The life jacket is called the Wingman; it has a CO2 cartridge that people can pull with a cord, which inflates the vest and gets someone’s head above the water. The reusable jacket will cost around $225, Hughes said.

It looks to replace the bulkier life jackets or the “awkward-fitting” inflatable ones that “no one likes” when doing any other water sports.

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