by Dom Wiseman

Boaters are being encouraged to take more responsibility for their safety and of those on board by learning about the requirements around inflatable lifejacket servicing and how to do it yourself.

NSW Roads and Maritime Services have put lifejacket safety on the radar and are running a series of free clinics around the state to help educate boaters about aspects of looking after their inflatable lifejackets.

Recent compliance data collected by Roads and Maritime Services, suggested that a concerning percentage of recreational boaters are not aware of safety check requirements for their inflatable lifejackets. Inflatable lifejackets are required to be serviced every year or in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions. Most lifejackets can be self-serviced, depending on the manufacturers’ guidelines, so the problem lies in boater awareness, not difficulty around the requirement.

The RMS clinics will show boaters how to carry out a simple pre-wear check before use and service their own inflatable lifejackets.

“For lifejackets that can’t be self-serviced, Roads and Maritime Services will provide you with advice on how to find an accredited lifejacket service agent,” said Angus Mitchell, NSW Maritime executive director.

“Everyone needs to know how to conduct a simple pre-wear check every time they use an inflatable lifejacket. It only takes a minute to check the basics like cartridges good to go and screwed in hand tight, and the emergency pull cord is out and ready to go.

“Boaters who come along to the clinics will be eligible to receive free lifejacket parts kits or $15 vouchers which can be used towards the purchase of a new lifejacket or parts at participating marine retailers.”

The clinics will be held alongside Roads and Maritime’s expired marine flare mobile collection service so boaters can drop off their expired flares and learn about their lifejackets at the same time.

Details about the free clinics are available here.