Regulations for Wearing Life Jackets State by State

Life Jackets

The numbers don’t lie; life jackets save lives. In the past 10 years from 2005 - 2015, 473 Australians drowned while using a boat or watercraft. Of these, less than 10% were wearing a life jacket and 14% had a life jacket on board.

Different regulations on the wearing of life jackets apply in each state and territory. The federal government’s Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is responsible for regulating commercial and domestic vessels, shipping registrations and marine orders, navigation, search and rescue, marine environment and international engagement plus overseeing each of the state’s marine safety agencies.

Each agency comes under a different state department. If you don’t already know, familiarise yourself with your state’s regulations on life jackets to ensure you comply in all boating situations. It’s important to remember that not all life jackets are the same. Some life jacket types are suitable for boating in protected waters but are not compliant for unprotected waters. Boat owners must take responsibility for keeping themselves and their passengers safe by providing the correct safety equipment. On the spot fines can apply.  


Agency Name: Roads and Maritime Services

Life Jacket Requirements: Every person (driver and passengers) must wear an approved life jacket while on board most vessels. On open waters, the life jacket must be a level 50S or greater.


Agency Name: Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics

Life Jacket Requirements: One approved PFD for each person on board all water types. Type 1 PDFs are required on open and intermediate waters while a level 50 is suitable for inland waters. 


Agency Name: Maritime Safety Queensland

Life Jacket Requirements: One life jacket or PFD for all passengers and crew of any age that must be worn on any open boat less than 4.8m in length.


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Agency Name: Department of Planning & Infrastructure

Life Jacket Requirements: One PFD (type 1, 2, or 3) required for all passengers in vessels under and over eight metres in protected waters. On semi-protected and unprotected waters a type 1 life jacket is required for each occupant of vessels under and over 8 metres.


Agency Name: Marine and Safety Tasmania

Life Jacket Requirements: It is compulsory for all people on board a vessel measuring less than six metres under power to wear a life jacket. Children under the age of 12 must wear a life jacket regardless of the vessel’s length.


Agency Name: Maritime Safety Victoria

Life Jacket Requirements:  On coastal and enclosed waters all people on board must wear a type 1 (level 100+) life jacket on boats less than 4.8m and children under 12 all times while outside of a cabin. On inland water all people on board must wear a type 1, 2 or 3 (level 100+, level 50, or level 50S).


Agency Name: Department of Transport

Life Jacket Requirements:  A life jacket must be carried for each person over the age of 12 months on board a recreational vessel being operated in unprotected waters. Type 1 (level 100 and above) are the only life jackets approved for unprotected waters.

If you are unsure of the requirements or you want to know if your life jacket complies, contact the friendly team at Boat Accessories Australia by calling 1300 308 161 or send an email.

Category: Life Jackets, Safety

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