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.

It is a requirement that inflatable lifejackets must be serviced per manufacturer recommendations.

Inherently buoyant lifejackets
Lifejackets that provide buoyancy by foam rather than inflatable bladders require less maintenance but must still be kept in good condition. Check the condition of the jacket and fastenings, and wash down after use. And create a written record whenever you service a lifejacket.

Attend a FloatSafe inflatable lifejacket clinic to learn how to do vital checks in person. Get a $30 safety gear voucher for taking part!

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

How to 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. Find a service agent on lifejackets.org.au

    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.

You can also register your inflatable lifejacket online to receive servicing tips and reminders. Learn more at lifejackets.org.au