Centre for Maritime Safety


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Lifejacket care and service

It is a legal requirement in NSW that inflatable lifejackets are serviced once a year, or in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

There are many different styles of lifejackets available, including foam or auto-inflatable options. Inflatable lifejackets are popular as they are easy to wear. However, this type of lifejacket requires extra care, maintenance and regular servicing.

Lifejacket servicing

If you’re buying a new inflatable lifejacket, you need to have it serviced within a year of the date of purchase. If you can’t remember when you purchased it or when it was last serviced, it is recommended that you have it serviced immediately.

Keep receipts and certificates as evidence of your lifejacket’s servicing. It’s also a good idea to maintain a safety equipment log for your vessel to help you keep track of when other safety equipment needs to be replaced or serviced.

Manufacturer’s servicing

Some manufacturers request that your lifejacket is serviced by them or an authorised agent. When your lifejacket is being serviced, thorough checks will be carried out to ensure the bladder, reflective tapes, buckles and straps meet standards and are in good working order. The servicer will also make sure both the inflation system and oral inflation tube are operating correctly, ensuring your lifejacket’s safety.


Servicing isn’t a routine check and clean, it requires a higher level of inspection and care. You should make sure you have the necessary knowledge and skill before attempting to self-service your lifejacket. Otherwise, it is recommended that your lifejacket is serviced professionally.

When self-servicing, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and make sure the recharge kit matches your lifejacket. If a service record is available on the inside of the jacket, sign and date the service record with a permanent marker. If this is not available, create your own paper record and keep a copy of it onboard your vessel. An authorised Boating Safety Officer can request to see a record of your lifejacket’s servicing.

The self-servicing of a lifejacket is only valid if the manufacturer permits it, and if all servicing receipts, certificates and/or records are kept. The following video demonstrates how to perform a self-service of your lifejacket (where permitted by the manufacturer).

Lifejacket guide

View a guide to lifejacket selection, care and service

Download the guide

How to perform a 'Self Service' of your lifejacket (if permitted by the manufacturer)


Tips on how to keep your inflatable lifejacket in good working order:

  • Always conduct a pre-wear check of your lifejacket before heading out on the water
  • Keep inflatable lifejackets clean and dry between each use. Auto-inflating models can sometimes self-inflate when they remain damp (e.g. if stored on a wet vessel).

For more information on lifejacket servicing visit our FAQs.

Wear it. Inspect it. Service it.

Five steps to self-check your inflatable lifejacket. An easy-to-follow way to help you keep your inflatable lifejacket in good shape.

View the step-by-step guide