Looking after your lifejacket

It is important that boaters check their jackets regularly, prior to wearing. Remember, inflatable lifejackets are not lifejackets until they are inflated and all it takes is a fish hook, or a loose or damaged CO2 cylinder to prevent them from inflating.

Inflatable lifejackets must be serviced per manufacturer recommendations. The maximum penalty for failing to service your lifejacket on or before the date specified by the manufacturer is 15 penalty units. The on-the-spot fine is 1.25 penalty units. The current value of a penalty unit can be found on the Department of Justice and Regulation website.

In this short video, Andrew Hart and Nick Duigan from popular Australian TV fishing series Hook, Line & Sinker show you how to check your lifejacket for damage or deterioration. View the transcript

Follow the advice in this guide and treat your inflatable lifejacket with respect. It is a life saving device.

Step by Step guide on how to Self check your inflatable lifejacket

  1. Check for visible signs of wear and damage. Ensure all fastenings and buckles are in good working order.

    Step 1 of servicing the lifejacket
  2. Following manufacturer's instructions, reveal the inflation system and oral inflation tube. Inflate bladder using oral tube and leave overnight in a room with constant temperature. If bladder loses pressure, immediately take jacket to an accredited service agent for further tests. Do not attempt to repair jacket yourself.

    Step 2 of servicing your lifejacket
  3. Use cap attached to the oral inflation tube to deflate bladder. Invert cap and press down on valve at the top of the oral tube. Do not insert other objects into top of tube as they may damage the valve. Roll or press jacket to deflate fully.

    Step 3 of servicing your lifejacket
  4. Remove CO2 cylinder and inspect. The cylinder should be intact with no rust or corrosion. Weigh cylinder on kitchen or letter scales, ensure weight corresponds to the minimum gross weight engraved on cylinder +/- 2g. If cylinder is rusted, corroded, has been pierced or is not the correct weight it should be replaced immediately. On auto inflation jackets also ensure auto components are armed and in date. Refit cylinder to inflation system, tightening it by hand until firm. Do not over tighten.

    Step 4 of servicing your lifejacket
  5. Repack jacket as per manufacturer's instructions. Ensure manual inflation toggle is accessible and unlikely to be caught when being worn.

    Step 5 of servicing your lifejacket

Set a reminder in your mobile phone, computer or calendar to alert you when it's time to have your inflatable serviced.