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Time to check out lifejackets

Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:00 a.m.

Does your lifejacket fit?

Before you head out on the water this summer check all your lifejackets and other safety equipment on the boat.

There needs to be one correctly fitting lifejacket for every person on board. Make sure they are still in good condition and that jackets for children still fit them. For inflatable jackets make sure that gas cartridges are unused, full and properly attached.

Bay of Plenty Regional Harbourmaster Peter Buell said putting an adult lifejacket on a child is dangerous, as they could fall out of them as soon as they hit the water.

“We often see a child wearing an adult lifejacket that won’t be any use to them if they fall out of a boat or the boat capsizes. They need to fit comfortably but firmly,” he said. 

“A lifejacket is not something you buy for a child to ‘grow into’. It needs to fit them properly now, and they should always wear one when out in the boat.”

A video showing how to check your lifejacket is on Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s website. Boaties should check the weight guidelines for the jacket, ensure it fits snugly and use the crotch strap for children to ensure it stays on.

Bay of Plenty navigation safety bylaws say that the right number of correctly fitting lifejackets must be carried for everyone on board. The skipper can determine when these need to be worn, in rough weather or other risky situations, but Mr Buell recommended that they be used in most situations, and always in boats under six metres long.

A lifejacket must always be worn when crossing a bar or other dangerous manoeuvres. Videos showing how to cross local bars safely are on the Regional Council website at

“It’s also a good time to check flares, communication systems and general seaworthiness of your boat so there’s time to replace or repair any faulty items. We’re hoping people will be responsible on the water this summer and make sure everyone who is out in a boat or on a jet ski is safe,” Mr Buell said.