Time to check lifejackets thoroughly
“Check your lifejackets.”
That is the message from Maritime NZ who says skippers must have lifejackets of the right size for everyone on board and ensure everyone is wearing a lifejacket at times of heightened risk.
“If they do not have lifejackets they can be fined and be prosecuted but, in the most tragic situation, no court penalty will ever match the death of a family member or a friend on your boat,” Safer Boating Forum Chair, Maritime NZ Deputy director Sharyn Forsyth said.
“The skipper is legally responsible for the safety of their boat and all on board, and Maritime NZ takes a strong stance on this. This Safer Boating Week we are focusing on lifejackets because they are your number one piece of safety equipment and must be in good condition to save lives.”
She said before getting on your boat consider: Do my lifejackets need replacing?
Manufacturers recommend replacing lifejackets after about 10 years, Ms Forsyth said.
Kapok-filled lifejackets should not be used at all. Even if they look brand new and have been well looked after, should be replaced and destroyed.
Kapok is a fluffy, cotton-like plant fibre that can absorb water and cause wearers to sink. Many of these old lifejackets also have cotton straps. Cotton rots — even if a lifejacket is not used — and can tear or break off.
Simple tests every time before you go on the water: ■Pull the straps, hard. If any stretch or tear, do not use, and replace it.
■ Check for tears or cuts in the straps. Check for any tears, cuts, or punctures in the lifejacket. If there are any, do not use the lifejacket, dispose of it, and replace it.
■ Check if it floats.
■ More information about safety, storage, and details for checking inflatable lifejackets is at www.maritimenz.govt.nz/ lifejackets