Lifejacket Types

With the variety of water sports and activities now available to you, governments and manufacturers have determined an appropriate type for the activity. Governments have in all cases either legislated or regulated the particular type to accommodate the activity which now range from the traditional recreational fisherman, off-shore professional sailor to the newest of water sports – sailboard riders. In recent times, debut is happening around the need for board surfers and rock fisherman to wear a lifejacket.

Workplace lifejackets are in a category of their own requiring specialist design and advice. These lifejackets are normally sourced from  retailers providing a range of marine industrial safety equipment from life rafts to distress flares.

The new Australian Standard for Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) - AS 4758 was introduced into recreational boat legislation nationally on 1 July 2010.  Australian Standards AS4758


PFDs made to AS 4758 will display these new levels:

  • Level 150 – a new level of PFD and suitable for offshore use
  • Level 100 – similiar to PFD Type 1 and the minimum requirement for offshore use
  • Level 50 – similiar to PFD Type 2
  • Level 50S (Special Purpose) – similiar to PFD Type 3

Prior to AS 4758 being approved by the National Marine Safety Committee for introduction into the recreational boat safety equipment regulations nationally by 1 July 2010, PFDs were commonly advertised and promoted by retailers as:

  • PFD Type 1 – “PFD1″
  • PFD Type 2 - “PFD2″
  • PFD Type 3 - “PFD3″

One of the approved standards for the types of lifejacket are listed below.

Personal flotation device Type 1

A PFD that complies with:

  1. Australian Standard AS 1512—1996, Personal flotation devices—Type 1 or any previous version of that Standard, or
  2. one of the following recognised standards for personal flotation devices, or types of personal flotation devices, that has been approved by a recognised appraiser:
    1. European Standard EN 399-1993Lifejackets – 275N,
    2. European Standard EN 396-1993Lifejackets – 150N,
    3. European Standard EN 395-1993Lifejackets – 100N,
    4. Canadian General Standards CAN/CGSB-65.11-M88 (for adults) and CAN/CGSB-65.15-M88Personal Flotation Devices for children,
    5. Underwriters Laboratories Standards UL 1180 – Fully inflatable recreational personal flotation devices,
    6. New Zealand Standards NZ5823:2001 Type 401, or
  3. any standard or specifications approved by the Maritime Authority.In this Schedule, recognised appraiser means:
    1. a certifying body accredited by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS–ANZ), or
    2. a laboratory with National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accreditation, or
    3. a notified body in accordance with the European Union Maritime Equipment Directive, Module B (MED–B), or
    4. a body approved by the Maritime Authority.

Personal flotation device Type 2

A PFD that complies with:

  1.  Australian Standard AS 1499—1996, Personal flotation devices—Type 2 or any previous version of that Standard, or
  2. European Standard EN 393-1993Lifejackets – 50N, or
  3. any standard or specifications approved by the Maritime Authority.

Personal flotation device Type 3

A PFD that complies with:

  1.  Australian Standard AS 2260—1996, Personal flotation devices—Type 3 or any previous version of that Standard, or
  2. European Standard EN 393-1993Lifejackets – 50N, or
  3. any standard or specifications approved by the Maritime Authority.
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