Dept of Transport and Water Police boat inspections finds many lifejackets not fit for use


Department of Transport safety education manager Laurie Adams (right) and Water Police led by Senior Sergeant Noel Minnock want boaties to wear modern lifejackets. Picture: Jon Bassett
Department of Transport safety education manager Laurie Adams (right) and Water Police led by Senior Sergeant Noel Minnock want boaties to wear modern lifejackets. Picture: Jon Bassett

OLD lifejackets’ crumbling foam and decaying webbing have been found during a Department of Transport exchange program for the devices supposed to keep people alive during emergencies at sea.

“We are finding some extremely scary-looking jackets being carried by some vessels,” Department of Transport safety education manager Laurie Adams said.

Mr Adams found 30 jackets on one boat with deteriorated foam and webbing, before the owners got new devices during a visit by the Old4Newprogram to Broome six weeks ago.

The program is being extended for another 12 months in the metropolitan area allowing old, obsolete or damaged jackets to be traded in for 50 examples of the Ultra-model level 150 lifejacket suitable for offshore and general boating in all conditions.

Any other trade-in can get a $15 voucher to buy a compliant and modern lifejacket at an outdoor activity chain store.

WA regulations currently outline that a lifejacket must be carried aboard for each person in unprotected waters.

It is recommended they are worn at all times by solo sailors and kayakers, those boating in a following sea, at night, if a poor swimmer, in addition to being out in bad weather.

Just having lifejackets and emergency beacons aboard is not enough.

“A lot of people will get an Epirb beacon or lifejacket as a Christmas present, and it’s just shoved in its wrapping under a seat, but if it’s not accessible and people don’t know how to use it then it’s no use to anyone,” Water Police Senior Sergeant Noel Minnock said.

The level 150 lifejacket worn around the neck at all times, and inflated by a gas cylinder when needed, keeps people floating face-up in the water.

“Even if you are unconscious it’s going to keep you buoyant in the water,” Sgt Minnock said.

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