Lifejacket wear rule change on boats 4.8 to 12 metres long

31 May 2022

Do you go out boating solo with your kids?

When you are boating with children, you are considered to be boating alone. If you fall in the water, they potentially cannot turn the boat around to get you and they won’t be able to haul you back in.

Everyone on board must always wear a lifejacket on boats up to 4.8 metres in length.

A new heightened risk condition has come in to help keep you and your children passengers safer:

  • Adults must wear a lifejacket on the open deck if they are operating alone with children in boats between 4.8 and 12 metres.
  • Remember children 12 years and younger must always wear a lifejacket on the open deck on boats between 4.8 and 12 metres.
  • Make sure the lifejacket fits well and if it has a crotch strap wear it. Check which lifejacket is right for you here.

All heightened risk conditions that require you to wear a lifejacket when in the open area of a vessel when underway or at anchor:

  • when operating alone
  • when operating only accompanied by a child, or children, who is 12 years old or younger
  • 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 wind, severe thunderstorm or severe weather warning issued by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).

For more information about lifejacket wear visit SA.GOV.AU - Lifejackets (