It's important that each person has an approved personal floatation device for the activity and conditions that they intend to boat in. If unsure, check with your marine safety authority.
There are some changes to PFDs
There is a new Australian Standard for the design of PFDs. The National Marine Safety Committee has agreed to introduce the new Australian Standard, AS 4758 into recreational boat safety equipment regulations nationally by 1 July 2010.
What does this decision mean?
It means that PFDs made to the new Australian standards can be used by boaters after 1 July 2010.
In addition, new PFDs made to the old standards and marked as Types 1, 2 or 3 will still be recognised by marine safety authorities for some time so they can also be bought and used after 1 July 2010.
What will the changes to the PFD be?
The change that will be most noticeable is a new way of identifying PFDs for different uses. The new standard introduces the identification of PFDs by 'levels'.
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
When will the new PFDs be available?
Boaters will start to see stocks of PFDs made to the new standard on retailers' shelves 2010/2011, however it could take another 12 months before full market availability.
What about current PFDs owned by boaters?
In most cases, boaters won't need to replace their existing PFDs as long as they are in good serviceable condition. Some jurisdictions have applied limits to accepting older PFDs depending on when they were manufactured. If unsure, check with your local marine safety authority.
Why do we need a new standard?
Standards Australia carried out a review of the Australian standard for PFDs and developed a new standard to more closely align with international standards that take into account advances in PFD design and manufacture. This type of review of standards happens regularly.
So here's a description of all PFDs made to Australian standards
|Level 150||PFD type 1
|PFD type 2
|PFD type 3
A Level 150 provides greater buoyancy support when a higher level of performance is needed.
A Level 100 and a PFD Type 1 are designed to keep you in a safe 'face up' floating position.
A Level 50 and a PFD Type 2 have less buoyancy than a PFD Type 1 or Level 100 and will not rotate you to a 'face up' floating position.
Level 50S and PFD Type 3's have similiar buoyancy characteristics to the PFD Type 2 but are manufactured in a wider range of colours.
Who to contact regarding legal requirements
Please contact your local marine safety authority for further details on PFD laws in your state. Or for further safe boating information go to www.safeboating.org.au
Australian Maritime Safety Authority