Recommendation Date
Recipient Name
A number of the passengers and crew on the Easy Rider had a large physique. There were only 3 adult and one child lifejackets on board to share among 9 passengers and crew. The 3 adult lifejackets were not large enough to be securely fitted to those passengers and crew whom had a large physique. The Maritime Rules make provision for the carriage of children’s lifejackets but are silent on the need for larger lifejackets to cater for people whom have a large physique. This is a safety issue.
Larger oversize approved life jackets are available in New Zealand, and at least one manufacturer will custom make a life jacket to suit.
Maritime Rules require that an approved life jacket be carried for every person on board every recreational and commercial vessel. While an approved life jacket is marked as complying with the appropriate standard, other life jackets are freely available for purchase that are not approved to the appropriate standard, yet they are often labelled as being approved to some other standard that is not accepted in New Zealand. An unwary purchaser, particularly a recreational boating person, could be misled into thinking they were purchasing a life jacket approved to New Zealand standards. This is another safety issue.
The Commission recommends that the Director of Maritime New Zealand addresses these 2 safety issues in any educational campaigns by making it clear that not all life jackets that can be purchased in New Zealand are approved and meet the requirements of New Zealand Maritime Rules, and that persons who have a large physique should purchase or be provided with a life jacket that is appropriate for their physique.
Reply Text
The Commission has identified two safety issues, namely a potential lack of awareness by the public of the importance of ensuring that life jackets are an appropriate size for the intended person (including those of larger physique); and the risk that a person wishing to purchase a lifejacket may be misled into believing that the lifejacket is approved when this is not the case.
Maritime Rules (Part 91 definition of PFD) provide that a personal flotation device (PFD), which includes a lifejacket, carried and used on board a recreational craft must be certified by a recognised authority as meeting NZ standard NZS 5823 series or a national or international standard that the Director is satisfied substantially complies with these standards.
The Director has made such determinations in respect of a number of such national and international standards. This includes Australian, US, ISO and EN standards. The Directors's determination in respect of these standards is available on the MNZ website, including advice on choosing the appropriate PFD.
MNZ also actively promotes and supports the correct use, size and fitting of life jackets at education seminars, boat shows, and through boating education programmes. MNZ also conducts ongoing campaigns in all forms of media (including the MNZ website) to emphasise the variety of valuable information on choosing the correct life jacket for all boating activities. These messages will continue to be promoted.
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