To have situations where you’re definitely grateful for having your safety gear on, is a more common experience than most people would expect.
- Louie

Wear a lifejacket

Lifejackets are the most important piece of safety equipment for Victorian boater and paddlers, helping keep your head above water if you end up in the drink and can’t get back on board or are unconscious.

Even if you are usually a strong swimmer, the shock of suddenly entering Victoria’s cold waters will greatly reduce your ability to stay afloat, call for help and get back on board. This is due to impacts on your breathing and heart rate, as well as flexibility and dexterity.

You are required to wear a lifejacket on a powered vessel up to 4.8m, when in an open area and underway. All boaters on a vessel up to 12m in length must wear a lifejacket during times of heightened risk – such as when boating solo, crossing a bar or when there’s a weather warning – when in an open area and underway.

Paddlers must wear a lifejacket at all times – this requirement also applies to sit-on-top kayakers.

Going shopping? Print off a handy Lifejacket guide PDF, 442.4 KB

Here's why

  • Your lifejacket buys you time to call for help.
  • It’s virtually impossible to put on a lifejacket after you’ve entered the water.
  • Over the past decade, 74% of people who drowned in boating incidents were not wearing a lifejacket.
    - Victorian Drowning Report 2016/17, Life Saving Victoria

Here's how

  • Any time you’re on an open area of a boat, wear your lifejacket.
  • Modern lifejackets cater for just about every boating situation, from kayaking in sheltered waters to offshore fishing on the open sea.
  • Get familiar with the way your lifejacket works and how you put it on, in case you need it in a hurry.
  • Ensure you regularly inspect your lifejacket. Inflatables must be maintained in line with the manufacturer’s instructions for self service and professional servicing.
  • Find out more on the Wear a Lifejacket website.