South Australian life jacket laws have been changed to improve safety ahead of summer.
The lifejacket laws are changing to improve safety on the water and reduce the risks of drowning on South Australian waterways and coastal waters.
The changes coincide with a new voucher system to encourage boat users to replace old lifejackets with new more modern ones.
New regulations will come into effect from today but will only be enforced following a 12-month education campaign before the laws are enforced.
The new laws make the wearing of lifejackets mandatory on vessels and in water activities more often than is currently required.
For vessels less than 4.8 metres in length fitted with an engine
All persons on-board must wear a lifejacket suitable for their area of operation, at all times when underway or at anchor.
For vessels 4.8 metres to 12 metres in length
Children aged 12 or younger must wear a lifejacket at all times when on an open area of a vessel, at all times when underway or at anchor.
Anyone over the age of 12 must wear a lifejacket when on the open deck during times of heightened risk, which include:
- When operating alone
- When operating after sunset or before sunrise
- When the boat is disabled
- When crossing an ocean bar
- At times of restricted visibility
- When in an area subject to a gale, storm force, hurricane force, severe thunderstorm or severe weather warning from the Bureau of Meteorology
The laws also require a lifejacket to be worn, if directed by the operator of a 4.8 metre to 12 metre vessel, if reasonable to do so in the circumstances.
Lifejackets must now also be worn for users of paddleboards (including stand-up paddleboards) and surf skis when operated more than 400 metres from shore.