Inflatable lifejacket servicing – don’t let yourself down

15 May 2019

White words on a blue background read "Inflatable lifejacketts. Easy, comfortable. But only with regular maintenance!" To the right of this is a logo with a stylised lifejacket above the words "Wear it!". This is set in the lower left potion over an image joined to the first words, showing a man wearing cap, sunglasses, a brown shirt and a red lifejacket., The man appears to be sailing a boat.

Saturday 18 May 2019 is ‘Ready, Set, Wear It’ Lifejacket Awareness Day and what better way is there to celebrate than to check the health of your inflatable lifejacket?

Inflatable lifejackets are a popular choice for South Australian boaters, but they need regular maintenance and servicing (at least once a year and after every inflation) to ensure they will work correctly when you need them the most.

How do you know what servicing is required?

Step by step servicing instructions are provided by the manufacturer when you buy the lifejacket and can also be found online for most brands. Instructions may permit self-servicing or the lifejacket may need to be returned to a service agent.

To ensure, and show, the lifejacket has been maintained properly, stick to the recommended service intervals and record the service date on the panel inside the protective cover.

An inflatable lifejacket

Some manufacturers will also provide a template online for a service record certificate, which should be filled out and kept in a safe place.

Replacement parts can be sourced from the manufacturer or a boating equipment retailer.

Keep in mind, the instructions for your friend’s lifejacket may not be right for yours.

Servicing instructions can vary between manufacturers, and will vary between automatic and manual inflation models. Make sure you know what your lifejacket needs.

Remember: if your lifejacket is not maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, it will not meet the legal requirements for a lifejacket and may incur a fine – but, more importantly, the lifejacket might let you down right when you need it the most.

Watch this NSW Maritime Safety video for an example of servicing an inflatable lifejacket, however please ensure you check the instructions for your manufacturer before starting.