We are currently exploring practical options to increase lifejacket wear on certain domestic commercial vessels. 

Safety data and research strongly indicates that wearing a lifejacket significantly improves chances of survival if you fall overboard. 

Since 1 July 2013, 34 incidents on domestic commercial vessels have resulted in 44 people drowning.  

Analysis of these incidents has allowed us to identify what parts of industry present a higher risk of a person falling overboard.  

Using this information, we have put together three possible options for lifejacket wear to increase safety and have asked for industry feedback. Consultation is now closed. We are reviewing the submissions received and will use the feedback.  to help us develop a proposed policy position to increase lifejacket wear on certain domestic commercial vessels. We will seek further industry feedback on the proposed policy position in 2022.

Life Jacket Consultation Timeline
What we want your feedback on

Option 1—Mandate lifejacket wearing requirements on all domestic commercial vessels, at all times while on deck.

Option 2—Mandate lifejacket wear on specified domestic commercial vessels

This option requires all domestic commercial vessels to have a documented risk assessment and written procedure on lifejacket wear in their safety management system in addition to mandating lifejackets be worn for the following types of operation. 

Operation 1: Mandate lifejacket wear requirements for domestic commercial vessels less than 7.5 metres in length.  

Operation 2: Mandate lifejacket wear requirements for operations with only one person on board.  

Operation 3: Mandate lifejacket wear for Class 3 (fishing) vessels of any length, when on deck.

Operation 4: Unpowered barges that do not have rails or means to prevent a person falling overboard

Option 3—Continue with lifejacket carriage requirements and do not introduce mandatory lifejacket wear requirements. However, mandate the requirement for a risk assessment and written procedure addressing lifejacket wear in the safety management system. 

Read more about these options in the consultation paper (PDF 1.12 MB).

Frequently asked questions

Shontelle Chamtaprieo outlines the purpose of the consultation and what prompted the review into increasing safety through increased lifejacket wear. 

Shontelle Chamtaprieo outlines the proposed options for increasing safety through increased lifejacket wear. 

Consultation documents