COVID-19: Updates on Department of Transport services


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.

  Make a difference lifejacket program

About Make a difference, maintain and wear your lifejacket

The Make a difference, maintain and wear your lifejacket program shows boaties how to service their lifejackets and promotes the importance of wearing a lifejacket while boating.

The program builds on the success of DoTís Old4New lifejacket replacement program launched in 2016 in partnership with the Royal Lifesaving Society of Western Australia and resulting in more than 5,000 old, damaged or obsolete lifejackets removed from recreational vessels throughout WA Ė  replaced with new, easy to wear inflatable lifejackets.

As part of the new program boaties will be able to participate in special clinics to learn how to maintain their lifejacket and vouchers are available to assist with the cost of servicing or replacing a lifejacket when required.

DoT will deliver the campaign with the valued assistance of its retail partners throughout WA who share a commitment to the promotion of boating safety.

Key information about the program:

  • The Make a difference program will visit metropolitan and regional boat ramps during the year, where DoT officers will deliver lifejacket clinics showing boaties how to maintain a lifejacket.
  • There are limited places at each clinic and registration is required to participate or phone 13 11 56 and ask to be transferred to Safety Education to book a spot.
  • Depending on the attendance numbers the clinics should run for about 45 minutes.
  • At the clinic parts will be provided free of charge to ensure your lifejacket is fully operational.
  • If your lifejacket is deemed unserviceable or the clinic does not have the parts to service your lifejacket you will receive a $30 voucher, that can be redeemed at a Make a difference retail partner.
  • A maximum of four vouchers per family can be redeemed at a retail partner.
  • The retail partner will take $30 off the recommended retail price of the lifejacket or cost of new parts when you present the voucher.
  • Vouchers are valid for 30 days after being issued.

Retailer partners and frequently asked questions are available for further information about the program.

MAC_P_Make_A_Difference_Lifejackets_FAQs.pdf icon Make a difference program: FAQs Kb
MAC_P_Make_A_Difference_Lifejackets_Guidelines.pdf icon Make a difference: Guidelines Kb

Lifejacket clinic times and locations

You can also properly dispose of your out-of-date flares and EPIRBs at the lifejacket clinics.

Choose from the following times and locations to register below.

The next events are:
Date Location Time 
7 August 2020 Broome - entrance point boat ramp 9am & 10am
8 August 2020 Derby boat ramp 11am
26 August 2020 Newman The Square  4pm
27 August 2020 Tom Price the Village Green 4pm
28 August 2020  Carnarvon Yacht Club  5pm
5 September 2020 Kununurra - lagoon boat ramp 9am

Guidelines apply, and numbers are limited at lifejacket clinics.

Register for a clinic



Participating retailers - Make a difference program

Location Retailer
Albany BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Albany GB Marine
Albany Rusty's Marine
Augusta Augusta X-treme Outdoor Sports and Camping
Balcatta BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Belmont BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Bunbury Anaconda Bunbury
Bunbury BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Busselton BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Butler Anaconda Butler
Butler BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Cannington Anaconda Cannington
Cannington BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Carnarvon Tel-O-Mac Tackle Shop
Cockburn BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Cockburn Getaway Outdoors
Coral Bay Coral Bay Supermarket
Dunsborough Bosun Marine
Esperance Moby Marine Services
Esperance Southern Sports and Tackle
Esperance Tatey's Tackleworld
Exmouth Exmouth Tackle and Camping
Exmouth Tackle World Exmouth
Geraldton BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Geraldton Getaway Outdoors
Hillarys RecFishWest
Innaloo Anaconda Innaloo
Joondalup Anaconda Joondalup
Joondalup BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Jurien Bay Jurien Bay Marine Supplies
Kalgoorlie BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Karratha Adventure Sports
Kununurra East Kimberley Marine
Malaga BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Malaga Searano Marine
Mandurah BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Mandurah Mandurah Outboards
Mandurah Tackle World & Outdoors Mandurah
Mandurah Tackle World Miami
Melville Anaconda Melville
Mt Claremont Royal Life Saving WA
Midland Anaconda Midland
Midland BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Myaree BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
O'Connor Ocean Life Marine
O'Connor West  Offshore Products
Osborne Park BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Port Hedland GT Diving
Port Hedland Pilbara Boats N Bikes
Rockingham Anaconda Rockingham
Rockingham BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Rockingham Rockingham Boating
Wangara Hi Tech Marine

Retailers wishing to be part of the Make a difference program should contact

  Register for a lifejacket clinic

To submit this form, javascript needs to be enabled.

Note: All fields are mandatory

This security feature protects our website from abuse. To proceed, simply tick the box or complete the challenge. If you receive a challenge and it is too difficult, please use the refresh button to get a new one. The refresh button is a circular arrow at the foot of the challenge.


All information supplied will remain private in accordance with the Management, Use and Release of Private and Confidential Information policy of the Department of Transport.

  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: Wed Aug 5 2020 4:59:03 PM