We have recently received a Coroner’s report in regards to a fatality in 2014.

Given that on a percentage basis (around 80%), of boats, are used for fishing it is important as many people as possible understand the absolute necessity and importance to maintain their inflatable life jackets according to the manufacturers recommendations.

The Coroner made some interesting points, these are shown below in italics.

These comments confirm MAST’s concerns that we have been expressing for a number of years in relation to jackets not being serviced and also the shelf life of a life jacket (PFD)

  • “That because the PFD had not been serviced, press studs came loose”.

The coroner in this case was relating to the press studs holding the bladder in place inside the outer layer of the jacket..

  • “ the press studs in the PFD popped every time he inflated it and that whilst the bladder remained in or near its correct position on every occasion, it failed to right him or lift his face from the water”


This comment refers to testing by Police using the jacket the deceased was wearing.

  • “………..death was at least contributed to by the fact he was wearing an out dated PFD, which did not comply with the current applicable Australian Standard and had not been serviced in accordance with manufacturers recommendations.”

The coroner went on to make the following recommendations

  • No person should wear a PFD that does not comply with AS4758.1 and
  • All inflatable PFDs must be serviced in accordance with manufacturers recommendations.

For some years MAST has been advising the boating public only to purchase AS4758.1 jackets. In view of the recommendations from the coroner MAST urges all marine dealers to only sell AS4758.1 life jackets.

This is not the first Coroners report to recommend jackets be serviced according to the manufacturers recommendations.

It should be noted that existing MAST legislation is that inflatable life jackets must be maintained in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations, this obviously included servicing requirements.

The older standard life jackets (AS1512, 1499, 2260) will be withdrawn from legislation in 2020.

We ask that you share with your club members and friends and stress to them the real need to take some time and check their inflatables.

I would be happy to discuss life jackets and share our knowledge at any club night or meeting you may have in the future.

Regards and safe boating and happy fishing! 

Peter Hopkins

General Manager - Recreational Boating Safety & Facilities


5 Franklin Wharf

HOBART   TAS  7000


Further information is available here : http://www.mast.tas.gov.au/recreational/boating/life-jackets/

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