Find out about lifejackets including the types available, who must carry them, when to wear them and how to choose and maintain them. This section also contains a list of other approved lifejackets.

  Old4New lifejacket program

New4Old lifejacket change over campaign

About the Old4New exchange program

The Department of Transport (DoT) in conjunction with the Royal Life Saving Society of Western Australia (RLSSWA) will be commencing Phase 2 of the Old4New lifejacket upgrade and awareness campaign in 2017.

The campaign aims to promote the wearing of lifejackets at all times while boating and provides an incentive for people to act and upgrade their old, uncomfortable lifejacket to a new, easy to wear slim style inflatable lifejacket.

The upgrade program will operate as follows:

  • The DoT and RLSSWA Old4New lifejacket upgrade program will visit five metropolitan and twelve regional boat ramps during 2017. RLSSWA will enable members of the public to upgrade any old, damaged or obsolete lifejacket for a new automatic, inflatable lifejacket at a reduced price of $65.
  • The purchase of a new lifejacket from the RLSSWA at the Old4New campaign tent is only available at the metropolitan locations and limited to one per boat.
  • There will be a maximum of 50 lifejackets available as part of the upgrade at each metropolitan location. Once the RLSSWA lifejacket allocation is exhausted, or if a member of the public wishes to upgrade more than one lifejacket, an opportunity exists to exchange their old lifejacket/s for a voucher that will be provided by DoT.
  • The voucher will entitle the person to purchase a new automatic or manual inflatable jacket from a participating retail store and get a $15 discount off the usual price. You as the retailer will be reimbursed for any vouchers you process.
  • There is a limit of two vouchers per boat in the metropolitan area and three in regional areas, with a maximum of 100 vouchers available at each upgrade location.

A list of participating retailers, guidelines and frequently asked questions can be seen below.

MAC-P-Old4NewFAQPhase2.pdf icon Old4New Lifejacket Program: Frequently Asked Questions Kb
MAC-P-Old4NewGuidelinesPhase2.pdf icon Old4New Lifejacket Program: Guidelines Kb

Where to upgrade

The Old4New lifejacket campaign will visit boat ramps and shows where people will be able to access lifejacket information and advice on maintenance.

The Old4New campaign will travel throughout the state during 2017. The locations and times of these visits will be available at least one month prior. Keep an eye out on this website or on our Facebook page for dates and locations.

Date Location Time
15 July 2017 Kununurra (at the Kununurra Agricultural Show) 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
16 July 2017 Kununurra (at the Boat Ramp on Old Darwin road) 8:00 am to 10:00 am


Participating retailers - Old4New Lifejacket Program Phase 2

Partnerships in safety are an essential part of efforts to promote a culture of safer boating in Western Australia. This is one reason why we introduced a Lifejacket Retail Partnership program.

You can take your $15 discount voucher to any of the retailers listed below and use it on the purchase of a new lifejacket.

Retail partners have access to a range educational material produced and provided by the Department of Transport's Marine Safety Unit. These resources help support and promote wearing a lifejacket. Retail staff also have the opportunity to be trained by Marine Safety staff in all things lifejacket related including types, servicing and lifejacket legislation.

Location Retailer
Albany BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Augusta Augusta X-treme Outdoor Sports and Camping
Balcatta BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Belmont BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Broome Broome Volunteer Sea Rescue Group
Bunbury BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Bunbury Millard Marine Centre Bunbury
Busselton BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Butler BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Cannington BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Carnarvon Carnarvon Tackle and Marine
Cockburn BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Como Dinghy World
Dunsborough Dunsborough Bosun Marine
Exmouth Auto Pro Exmouth
Exmouth Exmouth Tackle and Camping
Exmouth Tackle World Exmouth
Geraldton BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Geraldton Getaway Outdoors
Gracetown Sea Soaring Marine
Hillarys RecFishWest
Joondalup BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Kalgoorlie BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Kelmscott BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Kununurra East Kimberley Marine
Malaga BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Mandurah BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Midland BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Mindarie Marina Shorewater Marine
Myaree BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
O'Connor Ocean Life Mobile Marine Services
Osborne Park BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Rockingham BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
South Hedland GT-Diving
Wangara Hi Tech Marine

Retailers wishing to be part of the Old4New Retail Partnership program should contact the Project Officer via email:

Old4new lifejacket program logos

Keep up to date

If you would like to receive information about when and where future Old4New upgrade opportunities will be held please complete the form below and sign up to our Boating Communities Newsletter.


Marine Safety Facebook

Join us on Facebook to be part of WA's boating community. The Marine Safety Facebook page provides information on safe navigation and safe use of State waters, marine environment protection and marine emergencies.

Facebook logo Join the Marine Safety Facebook page

Opens in a new window Royal Life Saving Society (WA)

  Overview and who must carry lifejackets

A lifejacket is the most important piece of safety equipment on your boat and is your primary life support device if your boat sinks. If you are not wearing your lifejacket, it cannot save your life.

For comprehensive information about lifejackets, download the brochure below.

MAC_B_Safety_Equipment_Lifejackets.pdf icon Lifejackets: Safety equipment Kb

Who must carry them?

Vessels operating in unprotected waters (outside the waters contained by any breakwater or in any lake, river or estuary other than the waters of Cambridge Gulf or Lake Argyle) must carry an approved lifejacket for each person on board.

Each lifejacket must suit the weight of the person for whom it is intended, be maintained in good condition and kept in an easily accessible place.

  Types of lifejackets

Lifejacket type 1

Type 1

Approved for use in unprotected waters.

Standard: AS 4758 or ISO 12402: level 275, level 150, level 100 or AS 1512.

Level 100 and higher lifejackets provide a high level of buoyancy and are:

  • Approved for use in unprotected waters.
  • Fitted with head and neck support.
  • Designed to keep you in a face up floating position.
  • Manufactured using high-visibility colours.
  • Suitable for offshore and general boating in all waters.
Lifejacket type 2

Type 2

Not approved for general use in unprotected waters. *

Standard: AS 4758 or ISO 12402 - level 50 or AS 1499.

Level 50 lifejackets have a lower level of buoyancy than the Level 100 and higher lifejackets and are:

  • Not approved for general use in unprotected waters.
  • Not fitted with head and neck support.
  • Not designed to keep you in a face up floating position.
  • Manufactured using high-visibility colours.
  • Normally used for sailing, kayaking, canoeing, wind surfing and on personal water craft.

* 'General use in unprotected waters' includes all vessels except for: PWCs operating within 400 metres of the shore, paddlecraft, sailboards and kitesurfers.

Lifejacket type 3

Type 3

Not approved for general use in unprotected waters. *

Standard: AS 4758 or ISO 12402 - level 50S or AS 2260.

Level 50S lifejackets have similar buoyancy to the Level 50 lifejackets and are:

  • Not approved for general use in unprotected waters.
  • Not fitted with head and neck support.
  • Not designed to keep you in a face up floating position.
  • Not manufactured using high-visibility colours.
  • Favoured by waterskiers, wakeboarders, kayakers and canoeists where comfort and style are important.
  • Available as a built in garment (e.g. water skiing wet suit).

* 'General use in unprotected waters' includes all vessels except for: PWCs operating within 400 metres of the shore, paddlecraft, sailboards and kitesurfers.

Opens in a new window Types of lifejackets: YouTube video by ANZSBEG

  Personal flotation device standard

Lifejackets made under Australian Standards 4758 and ISO 12402 will be accepted for use in Western Australia as part of your safety equipment requirement.

Australian Standard 4758 or ISO 12402 has a rating system for personal flotation devices.

How the standard compares with older types

Older types Comparison to Standard AS 4758 / ISO 12402
Coastal lifejacket Level 275
Level 150
PFD type 1 Level 275
Level 150
Level 100
PFD type 2 Level 50
PFD type 3 Level 50 special purpose

Lifejackets made to the standards Australian Standards 1512, Australian Standard 1499 and Australian Standard 2260 are still acceptable for use as long as they are in good condition. You do not have to upgrade your current personal flotation device.

Do you need to upgrade?


Lifejackets made to the old standards will be acceptable for use into the foreseeable future. If you purchase a lifejacket made to an old standard now and look after it, you can expect many years of service. A date may be set for eventual retirement of the old standards.

More information is available on the National Marine Safety Committee website.

Opens in a new window Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA): National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety

  When to wear lifejackets

Lifejackets are a key safety feature in recreational boating. A National Marine Safety Committee (NMSC) study found that people who survived a boating incident were more than two times more likely to have been wearing a lifejacket compared to those who died and concluded that if lifejacket usage increased to 50%, 2-3 lives could be saved nationally each year.

Besides wearing them in emergencies, you also enhance safety if you wear lifejackets in the following circumstances:

  • At the first sign of bad weather.
  • Between sunset and sunrise or during restricted visibility.
  • When operating in unfamiliar waters.
  • When operating with a following sea.
  • When boating alone (this is especially recommended).
  • At all times on children under 10 years.
  • If you are a poor swimmer.

Practice putting them on in the dark and in the water; it is harder than you think.

Lifejackets for personal watercraft

People on-board a personal watercraft (PWC) are required to wear a lifejacket whilst they are operating the craft.

Opens in a new window Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA): National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety

Lifejackets for personal watercraft

Location/distance from shore Lifejacket type Additional equipment
Within protected waters or 400 metres of the shore in unprotected. PFD Type 1, 2, or 3 None reported.
Between 400 metres and two nautical miles from shore in unprotected waters. PFD Type 1 Must also carry an inshore distress flare kit, in serviceable condition.
Between two and five nautical miles. PFD Type Must also carry an inshore distress flare kit and an EPIRB.


Vessels under 3.75 metres are not permitted more than five nautical miles off shore.

  Choosing and maintaining a lifejacket

Size and weight

Infants: because of the varying weight distribution of babies it is difficult to put flotation in the right places; children less than about a year old cannot be adequately catered for and should not go afloat.

For older children, there are three main things to look for:

  • The weight range on the lifejackets label agrees with the child's weight.
  • The lifejacket is a snug fit (loose lifejackets work poorly).
  • The child is comfortable while wearing it.

For adults, too, a snug fit is important.

As for comfort, generally the less money you pay, the more uncomfortable the lifejacket.

Choose a lifejacket that is made in bright colours and with reflective tape which will assist resources find you at night.

Maintaining lifejackets

You should check the condition of your lifejackets periodically. Check for cuts and tears that could let water enter the jacket and rot the buoyant material. Check that the tabs are in good condition and not frayed.

Opens in a new window Caring for your lifejacket: YouTube video by ANZSBEG

  Inflatable lifejackets

Inflatable lifejacket

Inflatable lifejackets are becoming increasingly popular. These C02 inflated garments are lighter and less cumbersome than conventional foam lifejackets and are quite versatile; they're even made as wet weather jackets and windproof vests.

Care should be taken when purchasing an inflatable jacket to ensure that it conforms with Australian Standards: AS 4758 - level 100 (or higher), AS 1512, ISO 12402 or PFD Type 1. This will be clearly marked on the lifejacket.

You should be aware of the added maintenance requirements that come with this style of jacket and carry out self checks regularly (see opposite). Crew and passengers should be briefed on their operation.

Inflatable lifejacket maintenance

It is important that inflatable lifejackets are serviced regularly.

You should follow the manufacturer's instructions or, if the manufacturer doesn't specify, you should have your lifejacket serviced at least every 12 months. This will ensure it is in good working order.

Self check your inflatable lifejackets

Inflatable lifejackets are certainly very convenient but remember to be diligent with your checks and undertake regular servicing. Self checking a lifejacket can be done at any time to ensure the jacket is functioning properly.

Inflatable lifejackets step 1

Step 1

  • Check for visible signs of wear and damage.
  • Ensure all fastenings and buckles are in good working order.
Inflatable lifejackets step 2

Step 2

  • Following the manufacturer's instructions, reveal the inflation system and oral inflation tube.
  • Inflate the bladder using the oral tube and leave overnight in a room with a constant temperature.
  • If the bladder loses pressure, immediately take the jacket to an accredited service agent for further tests.
  • Do not attempt to repair the jacket yourself.
Inflatable lifejackets step 3

Step 3

  • Use the cap attached to the oral inflation tube to deflate the bladder.
  • Invert the cap and press down on the valve at the top of the oral tube.
  • Do not insert other objects into top of tube as they may damage the valve.
  • Roll or press jacket to deflate fully.
Inflatable lifejackets step 4

Step 4

  • Remove CO2 cylinder and inspect. The cylinder should be intact with no rust or corrosion.
  • Weigh the cylinder on kitchen or letter scales, ensure weight corresponds to the minimum gross weight engraved on cylinder +/- 2g.
  • If the cylinder is rusted, corroded, has been pierced or is not the correct weight it should be replaced immediately. On auto inflation jackets also ensure the auto components are armed and in date. Refit the cylinder to inflation system, tightening it by hand until firm.
  • Do not over tighten.
Inflatable lifejackets step 5

Step 5

  • Repack jacket as per manufacturer's instructions.
  • Ensure manual inflation toggle is accessible and unlikely to be caught when being worn.


Page last updated: Wed Jun 21 2017 2:59:44 PM