In the search for innovative and impactful ways to support communities nationwide, West Marine is working with multiple researchers to transform Ocean Reef snorkel masks into respirators for hospitals and health care systems. The company is also working at a local level to make donations that meet hospital-specific needs.
West Marine, a leading retailer for the boating and outdoor industry, sent several masks to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Sutter Medical Group, and Milwaukee School of Engineering for their teams to determine what adaptions are necessary to transform the masks into respirators. After several weeks of testing and coordination with Ocean Reef, the manufacturer of the snorkel masks, the masks are ready to be distributed to hospitals and health care systems around the country.
“We kept seeing reports of scuba masks with the potential of being adapted into respirators and we realized this was a real possibility to do our part during this pandemic,” said Ken Seipel, CEO of West Marine. “We’ve worked closely with all of these organizations to develop the appropriate adapter for the masks and as the masks continue to be deemed acceptable PPE, we are ready to begin distributing.”
West Marine plans on distributing approximately 1,200 masks to hospitals able to utilize the adapted masks. Ocean Reef has also pledged to donate the same number of adapters so hospitals will receive the full kit.
Testing has completed at Alta Bates Summit Medical Foundation in Oakland, California, and 200 masks have been sent for use in the ICU and emergency departments. Partnerships with additional hospitals are in the process and masks will be sent once testing is complete.
“We are thankful for the long retail partnership with West
Marine and are thrilled to support their efforts by donating 1,400 APA+RD40/20 adapters to this project,” said Ocean Reef in a statement.