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Published: 2014-12-12 00:00:00

Inflatable lifejackets have taken the lifejacket market by storm - they’re lightweight, easy to wear and able to fit a variety of people.

However, Waikato Regional Council harbourmasters are becoming increasingly concerned about the boating public’s lack of awareness around servicing inflatables.

At a recent event, which had nearly 100 boaties at it, the room was asked how many owned an inflatable jacket. Nearly the whole room put up their hand. When asked how many serviced their jacket regularly, no-one did this.

“Inflatable jackets are not the same as other buoyancy aids,” said the council’s maritime services manager Nicole Botherway.

“People can’t guarantee they will work when needed unless they do maintenance and regular checks.”

She said the recent tragedy where a soldier drowned is a horrific reminder that it is really important to make sure an inflatable is ready to be used when needed.

"Checking the canister isn’t corroded, hasn’t been used, and is properly screwed is essential. Other checks include looking for signs of wear on the jacket, and inflating the bladder overnight to make sure there aren’t any holes.”

Information on servicing is available at www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/lifejacket

or call the council’s maritime services team on 0800 800 401.