Lifejackets are the most important piece of safety equipment on any recreational vessel.
Modern inflatable lifejacket styles are designed to help you get the most out of your day on the water. They are less cumbersome and easy to wear, and they don’t get in the way of your favourite boating activities. With a wide range of slimline styles and colours available, there’s a lifejacket to suit your specific need. So be safe and wear yours, because a lifejacket could save your life.
A lifejacket must be carried for each person on board all vessels, unless exempt. It must be the correct size for the wearer and in good working condition. But it can’t save your life unless you’re wearing it.
Penalties apply to the owners and masters of vessels found not carrying lifejackets, or if there are not enough lifejackets for everyone on board. Penalties may also apply if occupants are not wearing lifejackets when they are required to do so. More importantly, if you are not wearing your lifejacket, it cannot save your life.
Please check your state's laws and regulations to help determine the best fit for you and your family
Types of lifejackets
There are 3 main types of lifejackets, all built to different standards of buoyancy and purposely designed for different kinds of marine activities. Roads and Maritime Services sets out the types of lifejackets required in various situations here.
All lifejackets must comply with an accepted Australian or International Standard and if the lifejacket complies to a standard, this will be stamped on the label. If there is no stamp, don’t buy the lifejacket.
Type 1 Lifejacket
Also known as a Level 150 or Level 100 PFD
These provide the highest level of buoyancy and are designed to keep thewearer’s head above and out of the water when unconscious. They provide the greatest performance and are mainly used when boating in open waters and alpine waters. There are two kinds of type 1 – those with fixed, in built buoyancy and those which are inflated by manual activation, or when the lifejacket comes in contact with water.
Type 2 Lifejacket
Also known as a Level 50 PFD
These are buoyancy vests that are not designed to keep the wearer’s head above and out of the water, but are made using high-visibility colours and in comfortable styles. They are mainly used when boating in more sheltered areas such as enclosed or inland waters.
Type 3 Lifejacket
Also known as a Level 50 S PFD
TThese are buoyancy vests with the same overall buoyancy as a type 2 lifejacket, however they are not required to be made in high-visibility colours. This makes them popular for use in aquatic sports such as wakeboarding and waterskiing, where comfort and style are important.
These lifejackets are built to the same buoyancy standards as traditional lifejackets but rely on CO2 for inflation. This means they are lighter and less cumbersome than conventional foam lifejackets and are quite versatile – they’re even made as wet weather jackets and windproof vests.