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Vessels 6 metres or less

While vessels 6 metres or less are underway, everyone on board:

  • must wear a lifejacket (or personal flotation device)
  • the lifejacket must be securely fastened
  • and the lifejacket must be appropriate size. .

Note: the skipper is responsible for complying with this rule. Failure to comply may result in a $200 fine. 

Vessels bigger than 6 metres

In vessels more than 6 metres in length, everyone on board must wear a lifejacket (or personal flotation device), unless the skipper has assessed the risk and considers it ok for lifejackets to not be worn.

Except, lifejackets must be worn:

  • when crossing a bar, including 200 metres either side
  • and in situations such as the following:
    • low visibility
    • rough seas
    • adverse weather
    • boating at night
    • high river flows
    • in an emergency.

In all other situations, enough lifejackets must be carried aboard in a readily accessible location to securely fit each person aboard.

For further information see the lifejacket rules in the Navigation Safety Bylaw (clause 2.7).

Lifejacket fit

A lifejacket needs to fit correctly to do its job.

To check fit:

  • check manufacturer ratings for your size and weight
  • properly zip and buckle the jacket
  • with your arms raised, have a friend tug the arm openings gently upwards
  • excess room above the arm openings means the jacket is ill-fitting

Click here for more information.

Inflatable lifejackets


Manual inflatable lifejackets are a popular choice for many boaties. If you choose to use this sort of lifejacket remember it needs to be serviced at least once every two years.


You should carry out regular self-checks to make sure your lifejacket is in good working order.

For further information on self-checks: