Approved types of lifejackets

 

 

 

Inflatable lifejackets

Inflatable lifejackets use carbon dioxide (CO2) for buoyancy, which makes them lighter and less bulky.

Inflatable lifejackets are either inflated manually, by pulling a tab, or automatically when they come into contact with water. Excess spray can accidentally activate an auto-inflating lifejacket.

A person wearing a manual inflatable lifejacket needs the ability and knowledge to activate it in an emergency.

Inflatable lifejackets are therefore not recommended for:

  • children aged under 12 years
  • personal watercraft (PWC) drivers and passengers
  • anyone being towed.

 

 


Lifejackets for children

It's strongly recommended that children wear a lifejacket at all times.

Lifejackets must be an approved type that meets Australian standards:

  • Level 50S or above on enclosed waters
  • Level 100 or above on open waters.
  • The rules about when children must wear a lifejacket depend on their age.

Children aged under 12 years

Children aged under 12 years must wear a lifejacket:

  • on all vessels up to 4.8m long at all times
  • in open areas of all vessels up to 8m long when the vessel is underway.

When choosing a lifejacket, make sure it fits well and the child cannot slip out of it. A lifejacket with a crotch strap is recommended.

Some sports and department stores sell 'swim vests' designed for children learning to swim under supervision. These vests are not an approved type of lifejacket as they do not offer the same level of protection.

Inflatable lifejackets are not recommended for children aged under 12 years. If a child is wearing an auto-inflating lifejacket when playing, the lifejacket may inflate if it gets wet. If they're wearing a manual inflatable lifejacket, they may forget how to activate it in a stressful emergency situation.

Children aged 12 years or over

Children aged 12 years or over must follow the same rules for wearing a lifejacket as adults, although it's strongly recommended that they wear one at all times.
More information on lifejackets can be found in the Boating Handbook.

 

Babies

Babies must wear an approved lifejacket suitable for their weight. It must fit snugly and securely so the baby cannot slip out of it.
Some babies are too small for even the smallest lifejackets. In this case, it's better not to take them on the water. If you have to do this, an adult wearing a lifejacket must hold the baby at all times.
Children aged under 12 years in vessels up to 4.8m long years must wear lifejackets at all times.

 


Lifejacket standards

Level 100+

A Level 100+ lifejacket must conform to at least one of the following standards:

  • AS 4758 – Level 275
  • AS 4758 – Level 150
  • AS 4758 – Level 100
  • ISO 12402-2: 2006 – Lifejackets, performance level 275
  • ISO 12402-3: 2006 – Lifejackets, performance level 150
  • ISO 12402-4: 2006 – Lifejackets, performance level 100
  • New Zealand Standards NZ5823: 2005 Type 401

Level 50

A Level 50 lifejacket must conform to at least one of the following standards:

  • AS 4758 – Level 50
  • ISO 12402-5: 2006 - Buoyancy aids (level 50)

Level 50S

A Level 50S lifejacket must conform to at least one of the following standards:

  • AS 4758 – Level 50S
  • ISO 12402-5: 2006 – Buoyancy aids (level 50)

Recognition of older lifejacket standards

  • EN 399-1993 Series has been replaced by the ISO 12402-2006 Series.
  • The following lifejacket standards have been superseded. Lifejackets carrying these standards will continue to be recognised as acceptable where the lifejacket existed, and was in use, prior to the commencement of the Marine Safety Regulation 2016 (7 October 2016).
    • AS 1512-1996, Personal flotation devices – Type 1 (and any previous version of that standard)
    • AS 2260-1996, Personal flotation devices – Type 3 (and any previous version of that standard)
    • AS 1499-1996, Personal flotation devices – Type 2 (and any previous version of that standard)
  • Lifejackets carrying the standard UL 1180 will continue to be recognised as acceptable where the lifejacket existed, and was in use, prior to the commencement of the Marine Safety Regulation 2016 (7 October 2016).

Dog lifejackets

There are no rules that dogs (or other pets) must wear lifejackets.

You may want to consider investing in one to keep your pet safe. Find one that's a good fit, so your pet does not slip out of it. One with a grab handle can be useful to pull them out of the water.