Which lifejacket do I need?

Tuesday 8 March 2022
Gone are the days of feeling like you have a bulky piece of foam strapped to you with hard ropes.

These days, lifejackets come in many styles and sizes for different purposes and environmental conditions. Many remain compact and out of the way until you hit the water, with some inflating automatically.    

When accidents happen, there’s rarely time to put a lifejacket on. Add into the mix swell, shock, fatigue and treading water until rescue arrives—and the benefits of wearing a lifejacket become clear.  With the range of lifejackets on the market you can be comfortable and safe on the water. We encourage you to think about the lifejacket you need for your operations, then find a style that suits you. 

For commercial vessels, the national law requires you to be equipped with Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) or coastal lifejackets, depending on your operational area.

Operational area Lifejacket requirement

B Extended offshore

B Offshore

SOLAS with a light for every person on board (crew and passengers). Child-sized SOLAS life jackets with a light for at least 10 per cent of children passengers weighing less than 32 kg.

C Restricted offshore

C Restricted offshore – specified areas

Coastal lifejacket* with a light for every person on board (crew and passengers).

D - partially smooth water

E – smooth water

Coastal lifejacket* for every person on board (crew and passengers).

Note: The requirements may be different if you operate under an exemption or under grandfathering arrangements.

* Certain models of personal flotation device (PFD) are acceptable for use as a coastal lifejacket if they are manufactured to one of the following standards.

  • AS 4758.1 (level 150)

  • ISO 12402-3 (Level 150)

  • BS EN 396

This table applies to vessels required to comply with The National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) Part C7A (Safety Equipment).

Learn more about how you can keep safe out on the water