Safety Essentials

Barry 2019-04-12

We look at the wide range and styles of life jackets and buoyancy aids suitable for adults.

Life jacket technology has come a long way - the bulky, ugly, orange life jacket is a thing of the past. Radical changes in life jacket design - extra large armholes, shaped fit, flexible panels, pockets, inflatables and more comfortable materials - make today’s life jackets easy to wear.

Selecting the best life jacket for the boating activities that you enjoy can be a daunting challenge. There are a wide variety of different life jackets, but that’s a good thing, because there are a wide variety of types of boating.

Firstly what are the rules regarding lifejackets? In New Zealand you must carry a correctly sized, serviceable lifejacket (also known as a personal flotation device or PFD) for each person on board a pleasure boat in New Zealand. This is a legal requirement, and this rule applies to all boats, including tenders and larger craft.

You will need to check the regional council bylaws for the requirements that apply in the waters in your part of New Zealand. Some bylaws go further than maritime rules, making the wearing of lifejackets compulsory for all on board small craft.

Maritime rules provide that it is the skipper's legal responsibility to ensure that lifejackets are worn in situations of heightened risk, such as when crossing a bar, in rough water, during an emergency, and by non-swimmers. Lifejackets must be stored so that they are immediately available in case of a sudden emergency or capsize. Children should wear lifejackets at all times in boats under 6 m.

Inflatable lifejackets are generally built to one-size-fits-all standards. Inherently buoyant foam vests are made to fit a range of chest sizes, so if you haven’t got any idea of your measurements, you should check with a tape measure.



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