International effort to prompt wearing life jackets

8 August 2013

Around the world there is a common, tragic theme in boating fatalities:  the majority of lives lost involve a person who did not wear a lifejacket in a small boat.

To tackle this problem, the world’s leading marine safety organisations have collaborated on an initiative to promote the wearing of lifejackets (known as Personal Flotation Devices in South Australian legislation).

The greatest challenge facing the international recreational boating community is encouraging people to make a habit of putting on a lifejacket before they go boating, Canadian Safe Boating Council Chair Jean Murray said.

At the centre of the initiative is a set of principles to promote the wearing of lifejackets:

• We recognise the fundamental role the wearing of lifejackets plays in the safeguarding of life for water users.
• We recognise the importance of promoting the wearing of lifejackets when boating.
• We endeavour to ensure that any publication including brochures, DVD, video, websites, and the like will feature all people wearing contemporary style lifejackets when in an outside area of a small craft that is underway.
• We recommend to the recreational boating industry that its publications similarly feature all people shown wearing lifejackets when in an outside area of a small craft that is underway.
• We require on-water education and compliance staff to wear lifejackets whenever they are on the water.
• We use the term “lifejacket” in public information and education.
• We encourage respective boating safety networks to become „safety partners‟ by supporting the above principles.

The Australian Recreational Boating Safety Committee is managing the website through its member jurisdiction Transport for NSW. The site is at

The International Lifejacket Wear Principles were finalised at the Marine13 boating conference, recently held in Sydney.