Remember, if purchasing an inflatable you are also purchasing ongoing servicing responsibilities.

It is also compulsory for children under the age of 12 years to wear a life jacket in a recreational motor boat or motor-propelled tender of any length while under power.

A life jacket does not need to be worn within a deckhouse, cabin or secure enclosed space.

A life jacket is also compulsory in a lightweight craft which includes kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddle boards, dinghies (tenders).  For a list of all equipment required in a lightweight craft, see Paddle Craft.

See Inflatable Life Jackets for information on this type of life jacket.

Life Jackets must conform to AS 4758. These will display the following levels:

  • Level 150 and above
  • Level 100
  • Level 50
  • Level 50S (Special Purpose)

There are some life jackets, mostly inflatable, that may be in excess of Level 150.

Level 150 or Level 100

A Level 150 or 100 must comply with the Australian Standard AS 4758. This will be clearly marked inside the garment. These jackets replace the old Type 1, AS 1512. These jackets offer head support and superior buoyancy over other life jackets. They are also made from highly visible colours. These jackets are required for sheltered and open waters. It is recommended children use this style of jacket in all operational areas.

Level 50

Level 50 must comply with Australian Standard AS 4758. This will be clearly marked inside the garment. These jackets replace the old Type 2 AS 1499. They do not offer head support. These jackets are to be used in smooth water only.

Level 50  jackets can be worn by operators of kayaks and personal water craft (PWC) in sheltered waters and people being towed on skis, wakeboards etc.

Level 50 Special Purpose

A Level 50 Special Purpose must comply with AS4758. These jackets do not meet Australian Standards Association colour requirements. They replace the old Type 3 AS2260. Level 50 Special Purpose jackets can be worn by operators of kayaks and personal water craft (PWC) in sheltered waters and people being towed on skis, wakeboards etc. They are not to be used as the main life jacket in a boat (unless you have just been skiing or are about to go skiing),

Before purchasing an inflatable life jacket, you must be aware that inflatable life jackets should be self checked by the owner and under the Marine and Safety (Motor Boats and Licences) By-laws 2013, (Clause 31(2) it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure they are serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.  All manufacturers have different requirements.  A receipt of service may be required as proof of service.

New Standard Life Jackets required on all boats in Tasmania by 2021

Everyone who owns a life jacket must, by 1 January 2021, replace jackets labelled with the old Australian Standards numbers, 1512, 1499 and 2260. This Australian Standard was made redundant in 2010 and will all be written out of legislation in the year 2020.

All life jackets in use on Tasmanian boats will need to adhere to the new standard AS4758.1 by 1 January 2021. MAST has “grandfathered “the older styled jackets for 10 years.

If you have purchased a life jacket during the last five or six years, it most likely is the new standard. It is easy to identify. Firstly, it should be branded as a level 50, level 100, level 150 or greater. It will also be marked with AS4758 on the jacket.

The old standard jackets would be marked as PFD 1, 2 or 3 and the number of the standard would correspond with either AS1512, 1499 or 2260. If any of your life jackets are branded with those numbers, then they are the old standard and the life jacket needs replacing. It is also likely to be in excess of 10 years old. Manufacturers have advised that the life expectancy of a life jacket is around 10 years.