Don’t risk it: lifejackets save lives

Whenever you’re heading out on the water, make sure everyone on board is wearing a lifejacket.

Lifejackets are mandatory for all MRNSW crew members and passengers on board our vessels. The reason is simple: lifejackets save lives.

But any lifejacket can only save you if you’re wearing it. It’s the simplest precaution you can take to protect yourself, your family and friends. An emergency can happen suddenly on the water. You could easily be incapacitated by a medical crisis or unable to reach your lifejacket if the boat is sinking.

A lifejacket won’t ruin your day on the water but it can prevent it ending in tragedy.

Lives are lost in recreational boating emergencies every year but many of these victims could still be alive today if they had been wearing a lifejacket, especially in smaller, unstable vessels, which can easily capsize in rough conditions such as those on coastal bars.

Modern lifejackets come in a range of models, including jackets, vests, yoke or bag styles. They are more slim-fitting and comfortable than in the past and won’t restrict your movement, whether you’re boating, fishing or riding a jet ski. It is also safest to wear a lifejacket whenever and wherever you are rock fishing.

The choice of manual or automatic inflation will depend on what is most comfortable and what you are doing. An auto-inflating jacket will inflate as soon as the inflation mechanism gets wet, while a manual jacket’s CO2 inflation is only activated by hand.

Auto-inflating lifejackets must be serviced every year or in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

NSW laws require lifejackets to be worn in many situations. For more information on NSW lifejacket laws, visit