Lifejackets – Which one should you have?


Lifejackets save lives. Seldom do people drown wearing lifejackets. They are vital for your safety. 

Regards of the types of lifejackets available, you should don your lifejacket before a life threatening situation exists. It is a lot harder to put a lifejacket on, once you have entered the water.

But which one do you need?


When are lifejackets required?

The type of lifejacket you wear is set by your State Maritime Safety Authority.

However as a general rule you should wear lifejackets in the following situations.

1. when crossing a designated bar in an open boat taht is less than 4.8m in length.

2. if you are under 12 years of age in an open boat less than 4.8m in length and underway

As a skipper of a boat, you must provide every person you welcome aboard with information about where safety equipment is kept. There should be a clear sign that identifies where life jackets are stowed.

Types of Life Jackets

All types of lifejackets must comply and display information about which Australian Standard (AS) applies.

Each lifejacket must comply with this standard.

The current Australian standard for lifejackets is AS 4758, which has replaced AS 1512-1996, AS 1499-1996 and AS 2260-1996. Lifejackets that comply with the previous standards can still be used if they are in good condition.

Open Water

The lifejacket for open water should be Level 100, 150 or 275 made to AS 4758. These types of lifejackets are suitable for smooth and partially smooth waters as well.

lifejackets open water
lifejackets open water

Partially Smooth Waters

The types of lifejackets for partially smooth waters are designed to keep you afloat. However, they do not have a collar to keep your head above water. The types of lifejackets suitable for partially smooth waters are also suitable for smooth waters.

These are Level 50 made to AS 4758.​

The jackets are suitable for skiers, people being towed and can be used by PWC riders.

partially smooth lifejackets

Lifejackets for Smooth Waters

The types of lifejackets for smooth waters are Level50 special purpose of Level 50S made to AS4758.

The jackets are suitable only for smooth waters where it is unlikely the user will be the water for extended periods.

smooth water lifejackets
Table of Lifejackets