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

Update now and benefit from a new modern style lifejacket with the Old4New program.

The Department of Transport (DoT) in conjunction with the Royal Life Saving Society of Western Australia (RLSSWA) is implementing the Old4New initiative as part of a lifejacket awareness campaign

As part of the initiative, a new inflatable lifejacket, along with educational materials will be provided under a 'trade-in' scheme where people can surrender their old, damaged or obsolete lifejacket for a self-inflating, slim fitting style lifejacket at a discounted price.

Where to update

12/04/2016: After a successful launch at the 2016 Hillarys Boat Show, it is planned to expand the Old4New program throughout the state. Keep an eye on this website for further details.

The locations will include boat ramps where people will also be able to access lifejacket information and advice on maintenance.

The locations and times of these visits will be advertised on the DoT and RLSSWA websites as well as through social media.

Keep up to date

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



Old4new guidelines

  1. To upgrade a lifejacket an old lifejacket must be exchanged. The old lifejacket must be unusable, obsolete, beyond repair or an old foam filled style. The upgrade cost is $50.
  2. If you do not have an old lifejacket to exchange you will be referred to a recommended retailer.
  3. A maximum of four lifejackets can be exchanged per boat.
  4. The lifejackets available in the Old4New program, are only suitable for people over the age of 12.
  5. A maximum of 250 lifejackets will be available for upgrade as part of the first phase of the initiative.
Old4new lifejacket program logos

Old4new frequently asked questions

What is the cost to upgrade?

A significant discount is available on lifejackets purchased through the upgrade program. The Ultra lifejacket, is a new generation lifejacket, they are slim fitting, light weight and comfortable. The lifejackets can be purchased for the discounted price of $50 only when an exchange is made.

Is there a limit on the number of lifejackets I can upgrade?

  • Yes, one person can upgrade a maximum of four lifejackets. This ensures the program is available to more boaters.

What sort of lifejackets will be accepted for the upgrade?

  • Any old, damaged, obsolete or foam filled lifejacket can be upgraded for a new lifejacket.

How can I pay for my new lifejacket?

  • Cash, credit card and EFTPOS facilities will be available.

I don't have a lifejacket to upgrade, can I still purchase an old4new lifejacket?

  • Unfortunately no, the aim of the upgrade program is to remove old, damaged and obsolete lifejackets from the boating environment. The good news is, new generation lifejackets are available from many retailers.

Please refer to the list of retailers below, these businesses have joined DoT's partnership program to promote lifejacket awareness and sell new generation lifejackets.

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Lifejacket retail partners

Please note the Old4new lifejacket exchange is only available at location(s) listed above.

The following retail partners supply and advise. They can supply lifejackets if you do not have lifejacket to upgrade.

Location Name
Balcatta BCF: Boating Camping Fishing
Balcatta Getaway Outdoors
Belmont BCF: Boating Camping Fishing
Bentley Getaway Outdoors
Cannington BCF: Boating Camping Fishing
Cockburn Getaway Outdoors
Edgewater BCF: Boating Camping Fishing
Jandakot BCF: Boating Camping Fishing
Kelmscott BCF: Boating Camping Fishing
Kelmscott Getaway Outdoors
Kingsley All Boats and Caravans
Malaga BCF: Boating Camping Fishing
Mandurah Getaway Outdoors
Mandurah BCF: Boating Camping Fishing
Midland BCF: Boating Camping Fishing
Myaree BCF: Boating Camping Fishing
Osborne Park BCF: Boating Camping Fishing
Rockingham BCF: Boating Camping Fishing
Wangara HiTech Marine
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: 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 - 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 - 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

Standards Australia has introduced Australian Standard 4758, for lifejackets. From 1 February 2010 lifejackets made under this standard will be accepted for use in Western Australia as part of your safety equipment requirement.

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

How the standard compares with older types

Older types Comparison to Standard AS 4758
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 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.

  Other approved lifejackets

The lifejacket you choose for use in unprotected waters must bear the Australian Standard 4758 or 1512, PFD Type 1 or appear on the list below to be recognised under the regulations.

MAC_IS_OtherApprovedLifeJacketsList.pdf icon Other approved lifejackets Kb

  Lifejackets: Documents


Page last updated: Thu Sep 15 2016 9:54:44 AM