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EEL – The Emergency Escape Light
A Guiding Light in the Darkest Hour

24th September, 2019

The commercial mariners of Australia are a tough breed, working in rough seas, often at night, suffering long hours. Maritime regulations prescribe a workplace that is made as safe as possible, however, in the commercial fishing industry especially, the crew will often face incredible risk factors, including the very real danger of capsize.


The wounds are still raw for those coming to terms with the tragic trawler fatalities incurred in recent years in waters off Queensland, a prominent operational area for Australian Aquaculture. During a recent coronial inquest Senior Constable Hall of the Queensland Police Diving Unit made a simple yet poignant statement “Those wheelhouses are a steel coffin, there’s got to be some way of getting out.” He also strongly recommended commercial boats be fitted with emergency exit lighting. “Unless you have a point of reference ... if you’re in a blacked-out situation, it’s hard to know where you are.. you lose your bearings in a heartbeat.” 



Imagine being jolted awake in complete darkness, the normally familiar sleeping compartment now upside down, and frigidly cold, rapidly filling with icy seawater.


It’s not surprising that disorientation and panic set in.


Aaron Smith, Australasian Business Development Manager of AMI Group, and recently appointed Managing Director of TMQ International (a business supporting commercial mariners since 1974), was raised on QLD trawlers after joining the family business at a young age, and saw a very real need to make the business of commercial fishing safer.


“Being the son of a professional fisherman, born and bred Queenslander and lucky enough to spend my holidays out at sea on a 50 foot timber trawler, then later in life working the vessel, I never once thought or imagined the boat rolling over. Vessel roll over has now become a reality in Australia and the world, and crew and passenger safety has become even more paramount. I know how dark the crew area is and how 3 bunks in a small room could easily be overturned, how easy it is to become disoriented and afraid. How can I help? What can we, a small company in Queensland that have been making autopilots and charting software for over 30 years do?”


Aaron knew a product needed to be developed, and that nothing like it existed in the market. He felt the impact the recent fatalities had, with many friends and colleagues in the industry.


“I could only think that they need light, they need to be able to see, enough light for long enough for them to work their way out of a difficult situation, something that worked by itself. Some asked me why not just have a torch? What good is a torch if you are upside down and it is too dark to find it? We didn’t just want a light, we wanted something that worked on its own, that had the timeline to be on for a minimum at its maximum brightness. The necessity to take an impact from a fallen object, to be able to be fully submersible and produce lighting similar to underwater lights, and even if a vessel starts sinking in an upright position can be activated from a water sensor.“


The EEL was designed and manufactured in Australia, by those who had experienced the spaces on board commercial fishing and working vessels first hand. The patented IP67 rated product is activated by a movement of 60 degrees or more from its mounted position (indicative of a capsize), and also activates if immersed in salt water in excess of 5 seconds (indicative of a flood situation). The light will not activate accidentally, is impact proof in case of falling objects, and is powered by battery with a 2 year stand by duration, staying illuminated once activated in excess of six hours. A demonstration video can be viewed here:


EEL is a low maintenance product, its 2 year battery life can be easily renewed with battery replacement at an approved service centre. The unit has a battery test mode, and an LED indication for low battery status.



The EEL is available from October 2019, at a recommended retail price of $484.00 GST inclusive. The product will be distributed by AMI Sales and TMQ Electronics, visit for more information.