Life Jackets

An approved life jacket / personal flotation device (PFD) must be provided for each person on board. It is compulsory to wear a life jacket in any recreational motor boat or motor-propelled tender that is under six (6) metres in length whilst under power.

It is also compulsory for children under the age of 12 years to wear a life jacket in a recreational motor boat or motor-propelled tender of any length while under power.

A life jacket does not need to be worn within a deckhouse, cabin or secure enclosed space.

A life jacket is also compulsory in a lightweight craft which includes kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddle boards, dinghies (tenders).  For a list of all equipment required in a lightweight craft, see Paddle Craft.

Life Jackets made to AS 4758.1 will display the following levels:

  • Level 150
  • Level 100
  • Level 50
  • Level 50S (Special Purpose)

Level 150 or Level 100

A Level 150 or 100 must comply with the Australian Standard AS 4758. This will be clearly marked inside the garment. These jackets replace the old Type 1, AS 1512. These jackets offer head support and superior buoyancy over other life jackets. They are also made from highly visible colours. These jackets are required for sheltered and open waters. It is recommended children use this style of jacket in all operational areas.

Level 50

Level 50 must comply with Australian Standard AS 4758. This will be clearly marked inside the garment. These jackets replace the old Type 2 AS 1499. They do not offer head support. These jackets are to be used in smooth water only.

Level 50 Special Purpose

A Level 50 Special Purpose must comply with AS 4758. These jackets do not meet Australian Standards Association colour requirements. They replace the old Type 3 AS 2260. Level 50 Special Purpose jackets can be worn by operators of kayaks and personal water craft (PWC) in sheltered waters and people being towed on skis, wakeboards etc. They are not to be used as the main life jacket in a boat.



New Standard Life Jackets required on all boats in Tasmania by 2020.

Everyone who owns a life jacket must, by December 2020, replace jackets labelled with the old Australian Standards numbers,  1512, 1499 and 2260. This Australian Standard was made redundant  in 2010 and will all be written out of legislation in the year 2020.

All life jackets in use on Tasmanian boats will need to adhere to the new standard AS4758.1 by 1 January 2021. MAST has “grandfathered “ the older styled jackets for 10 years.

MAST first advised the boating public of this in the Spring issue of Boatwise 2010.


Changes to Life Jacket Standards – Frequently Asked Questions















MAST has introduced this scheme to assist recreational boaters and licence holders to transition to the new life jackets by providing $20.00 vouchers, redeemable when purchasing a new AS4758.1 life jacket.

MAST will be distributing vouchers at education nights and other venues such as boat ramps around the state. These dates will be advertised in newspapers, the MAST Facebook page and website for details.

You will need to show your old AS styled jacket which will be marked with a voucher number.  We do not keep the jacket.

Take your old jacket and the voucher to one of the Boat Safe or Paddle Safe partner retailers listed on the back of the voucher.  The number on the old jacket must correspond with the number on the voucher. You have until 31 December 2020 to redeem this voucher.

Vouchers cannot be used to replace existing AS4758.1 life jackets – only for the old AS1512, 2260 and 1499 jackets.


Changes to Life Jacket Standards – Frequently Asked Questions

These C02 inflated garments are lighter and less cumbersome than conventional foam life jackets and are quite versatile – they’re even made as wet weather jackets and windproof vests and are becoming increasingly popular.

However there are added maintenance requirements that come with this style of jacket as well as the need for detailed crew and passenger briefing on their operation.

Care should also be taken when purchasing an inflatable jacket to ensure that it conforms with Australian Standards. Inflatable jackets conforming to Australian Standards meet AS 4758. This will be clearly marked on the jacket.

As life jackets spend much time in a harsh environment (particularly with saltwater boaters), it is important that jackets are serviced annually by an accredited service centre or the original manufacturer. This will ensure that the jacket is in good working order. When they are serviced, checks will be carried out to ensure the bladder, reflective tapes, buckles and straps are in working order, and that the inflation system and oral inflation tube are operating correctly. For safety sake, do this annually.

The jackets should also be checked regularly, prior to wearing. Make a visual check for damage and unscrew the gas cylinder to ensure it has not been pierced. If it has been pierced then replace it immediately. Without this occurring the jacket will not inflate.

Ensure that the cartridge is screwed in firmly. Cartridges can loosen from continual vibration whilst stowed in a car or boat. If a cylinder is loose, gas can escape through the thread upon activation.

It is also worthwhile to periodically manually inflate your jacket with the oral inflation tube, and leave it overnight. This will determine whether there are any leaks in the bladder. Remember that if the temperature in the room decreases overnight, this will affect the pressure in the bladder, so take this into consideration when assessing the air in the jacket the next morning.

Inflatable jackets are certainly very convenient but remember to be diligent with your checks and undertake regular servicing to ensure it will work when you need it.

Inflatable Life Jacket Brochure

Life Jacket Servicing handout PDF




C H Smith Marine  –  (03) 6344 1166

Life Jackets serviced:
  • Burke
  • PFD
  • RFD

Rubber Ducky Inflatable Boat Repairs and Services – 0437 910 378

Life Jackets serviced:
  • Axis
  • Beaufort
  • Burke
  • Crewsaver
  • Essential
  • Lalizas
  • Marlin
  • Mullion
  • Mustang
  • PFD
  • RFD
  • Roaring Forties
  • SOS
  • Spinlock
  • Stormy Seas
  • Ultra
  • XT Quickfit

Stormy Lifejackets – (03) 6245 0443

Life Jackets serviced:
  • Stormy

Reel Tackle and Bait –  (Clinton Howe)  0429 475 550

Life Jackets serviced:
  • PFD
  • BLA

Gravelly Beach Marine – (03) 6394 4271

Life Jackets serviced:
  • AXIS

Life Jacket Servicing Agents May 2017