Dan Watson: SafetyNet

Work / Product Design

Dan Watson’s ingenious fish escape system scoops UK Dyson award

It’s amazing how often the best design solutions are based on the simplest ideas. There’s an awful lot of (justified) handwringing over the issue of overfishing and politicians and campaigners are wont to debate how to make the industry more sustainable until the cod comes home. But recent RCA graduate Dan Watson broke the problem down to its basics – how could you help fish that weren’t meant to be caught get out of the industrial nets?

His solution was SafetyNet, a series of escape rings that can be retrofitted to nets with illuminated lights to act as an “emergency exit” for the young, unmarketable fish to follow to safety.

Dan’s design was today named the winner of the UK category in the James Dyson Award which recognises innovative inventions that solve a problem. Dan said: “A key focus in the design of the Escape Rings is to make them as low maintenance as possible. The rings are illuminated, acting in a similar way to emergency exit signs for the fish, making it very clear where the escape routes are. In addition to this, water flow through the wide open meshes guides the fish to freedom.”


Dan Watson: SafetyNet


Dan Watson: SafetyNet


Dan Watson: SafetyNet

Elsewhere the other UK entries going through to the international stage are Free Light which harnesses human power to generate electricity, a flash-heating device for breast milk, a bike-powered electrical waste unti, an easy-to-use sewing machine, a newly designed garden hoe, a 360 degree light that attaches to a nike helmet, a new smart wheelchair for youngsters, and a fresh take on the nurse’s bag.


Kulinda breast milk flash heating device


Alto Sewing Machine




360 Helmet Light


Free Light human-powered generator