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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.

  IMPORTANT: Lifejacket product recall

Two lifejackets recently sold in Australia have now been recalled through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Jetpilot Australia Pty Ltd

The Jetpilot Kids NeoVest sold online and by major water sports stores in Australia and New Zealand August 2016 to January 2018 are being recalled by the manufacturer as the vests do not meet Australian Standards of buoyancy. Please follow the link to find out how to return the product.

Jarvis Walker Pty Ltd

The Jarvis Walker Pty Ltd - Adult Personal Flotation Device (PFD) Type 1 sold under Platinum brand July 2011 - December 2015 and JW Brand January 2012 to October 2017, is being recalled as it has design faults. Please follow the link to find out more.

External Link Lifejacket recall: Jetpilot Australia Pty Ltd
External Link Lifejacket recall: Jarvis Walker Pty Ltd

  Old4New lifejacket program

New4Old lifejacket change over campaign
New4Old lifejacket change over campaign

About the Old4New lifejacket exchange program

DoT, in partnership with the Royal Life Saving Society of Western Australia (RLSSWA), deliver the Old4New lifejacket upgrade and awareness campaign.

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, obsolete, damaged and uncomfortable lifejackets to new, easy to wear slim style inflatable lifejackets.

The program operates as follows:

  • The Old4New lifejacket upgrade program visits metropolitan and regional boat ramps during the year. 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 two per person.
  • There is a limited number of 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 two lifejackets, an opportunity exists to exchange their old lifejacket(s) for a voucher that is provided by DoT.
  • The voucher entitles the person to purchase a new automatic or manual inflatable jacket from a participating retail store and get a $15 discount off the retail price.
  • There is a limit of two vouchers per boat in the metropolitan area and three in regional areas, with a limited number of 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
If you want to save some money upgrading your lifejacket, take advantage of the upcoming Old4New opportunities at boat ramps and community events where you can also get the latest lifejacket information and advice on maintenance.
You can also properly dispose of your out -of -date flares or EPIRBs at the events:
The next events are:
Date Location Time  Flare/EPIRB *collection
4 Apr 2020

BIA Explore Boating Day

(Grounds of  Cockburn Power Boat Assocation, Munster) 

      RLSSWA lifejacket sales     

     *New for Old Vouchers available




9:00 am - 11:00 am

*9:00am - 3:00pm


* Voucher only events

Guidelines apply and numbers are limited. 

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Participating retailers - Old4New Lifejacket program

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.

Location Retailer
Albany BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Albany GB Marine
Albany Rusty's Marine
Albany (Emu Point) Watercraft Marine
Augusta Augusta X-treme Outdoor Sports and Camping
Balcatta BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Belmont BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Bremer Bay Bremer Bay Rural & Hardware
Broome  Broome Boat Shop
Bunbury BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Bunbury Millard Marine Centre Bunbury
Bunbury Sports Marine Boat Centre
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
Coral Bay Coral Bay Supermarket & Outdoor Centre
Dunsborough Dunsborough Bosun Marine
Esperance Moby Marine Services
Esperance Southern Sports and Tackle
Esperance Tatey's Tackleworld
Exmouth Auto Pro Exmouth
Exmouth Exmouth Tackle and Camping
Exmouth Tackle World Exmouth
Fremantle Viking Life-Saving Equipment
Geraldton BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Geraldton Getaway Outdoors
Gracetown Sea Soaring Marine
Hillarys RecFishWest
Joondalup BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Jurien Bay Jurien Marine Supplies
Kalgoorlie BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Karratha Adventure Sports
Kununurra East Kimberley Marine
Malaga BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Mandurah BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Mandurah Tackle World Miami
Mandurah Tackle World and Outdoors
Manjimup Alexander's Outdoor and Leisure
Midland BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Mindarie Marina Shorewater Boats & Bits
Myaree BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Narrogin Steelo's Guns and Outdoors
O'Connor Ocean Life Mobile Marine Services
Osborne Park BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Port Hedland Pilbara Boats n Bikes
Rockingham BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
South Hedland GT-Diving
South Hedland Smirkey's Sports
Walpole Walpole Hardware & Rural Supplies
Wangara Hi Tech Marine

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

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)

  Who must carry lifejackets and when to wear them

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 Safety equipment: Lifejackets 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.

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. Refer to the table below for more detail.

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.

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

  Types, choosing a lifejacket and maintenance

Lifejacket type 1
Lifejacket type 1

Level 100, 150, 275

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
Lifejacket type 2

Level 50

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: Personal Watercafts operating within 400 metres of the shore, paddlecraft, sailboards and kitesurfers.

Lifejacket type 3
Lifejacket type 3

Level 50S

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: Personal Watercafts operating within 400 metres of the shore, paddlecraft, sailboards and kitesurfers.

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 ANZSBEG YouTube video: Types of lifejackets
Opens in a new window ANZSBEG YouTube video: Caring for your lifejacket

  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

  Inflatable lifejackets

Inflatable lifejacket
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
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
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
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
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.
Lifejacket safety step 5
Lifejacket safety step 5

Step 5

  • Record the date of maintenance on the service label on the lifejacket.
Inflatable lifejackets step 5
Inflatable lifejackets step 5

Step 6

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

Image of man putting on girls lifejacket


Page last updated: Thu Apr 9 2020 6:33:44 PM