Your views on lifejacket regulations are important.

Lifejacket regulations are now being reviewed, with a particular focus on increasing the safety of children and keeping the boating community safe. 

The primary purpose of any lifejacket is to increase safety. They assist the wearer to float – and ultimately can prevent them from drowning. For this to be achieved the lifejacket must be:

  • the correct type for the situation
  • the right size
  • correctly maintained
  • easily accessible, and
  • correctly worn.

Simply carrying lifejackets on board vessels does not save lives because unexpected situations can occur suddenly and without warning. Locating and donning lifejackets once in the water can be difficult or impossible.  

What is being decided?

The proposed regulations are about when lifejackets must be worn on recreational vessels in South Australian waters. Currently there is a requirement that lifejackets be carried on board vessels but the requirement to wear them only applies in specific circumstances.

A range of options is being considered to better align with the requirements for boaters in other states such as NSW and Victoria. 

Current requirements in South Australia Proposed regulation changes
  • Lifejackets must be of a suitable type for the waterway. 
  • Lifejackets must be of a suitable type for the waterway (NO CHANGE).
  • Power driven vessels must carry suitable lifejackets for all on board.
  • Power driven vessels:
    • lifejackets must be worn by all persons on vessels less than 4.8 metres in length and underway
    • lifejackets must be worn at all times by children under 12 years of age when in an open area of a vessel 4.8 – 12 metres in length and underway
    • lifejackets must be worn by persons over 12 years of age when in an open area of a vessel 4.8 – 12 metres in length and underway at times of heightened risk or as directed by the skipper.
  • Lifejackets must be worn at all times on personal watercraft.
  • Lifejackets must be worn at all times on personal watercraft (NO CHANGE).
  • Lifejackets must be worn at all times on canoes and kayaks.
  • Lifejackets must be worn at all times on canoes and kayaks (NO CHANGE).
  • Lifejackets must be worn at all times on sail boards and kite boards.
  • Lifejackets must be worn at all times on sail boards and kite boards (NO CHANGE).
  • Lifejackets must be worn on surfboards, surf skis and stand up paddleboards (SUP) when on protected waters.
  • Lifejackets must be worn on surfboards, surf skis and stand up paddleboards (SUP) when on protected waters (NO CHANGE).
  • Lifejackets must be worn on SUP and surf skis when more than 400 metres from shore in semi-protected waters.
  • Lifejackets must be worn at all times on Dragon boats. 

Times of heightened risk include:

  • Boating alone
  • Boating at night
  • Crossing a coastal or ocean bar (e.g. Murray mouth)
  • Operating in restricted visibility
  • When the vessel is disabled
  • Operating in an area where the Bureau of Meteorology has issued the following warnings:
    • Gale
    • Storm force
    • Hurricane force wind
    • Severe thunderstorm
    • Severe weather

Click here for more detailed information about the current regulations for lifejackets and other safety equipment. 

How can your input influence the decision?

Your comments will help to inform the final regulations, as the opinions and views of the community and industry will be considered. The outcome of the consultation and the final legislation will be published on this yourSAy page and on the On Deck website.

Get involved

You can join the conversation and provide your feedback by answering the questions below via:

Consultation is open until 5.00 pm, Friday 22 September 2017.

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