Choosing A Lifejacket

When choosing a lifejacket you need to take into consideration a number of things before making your purchase.
The first consideration is:

  • what are you planning on using your lifejacket for?

This is a basic question. If you are purchasing for an international shipping company your needs will be completely different from an aviation lifejacket and similarly different from a coastal yachtsman or boatie.

Once you have addressed this question, you will be driven by the rules, regulations and laws applicable to your needs. This may include:

  • SOLAS regulations
  • FAA or CAA regulations
  • MNZ or YNZ regulations (for New Zealanders)
  • Any other local government agencies e.g. USCG
Which Lifejackets Do I Need?
  • International Shipping will mean SOLAS Lifejackets.
  • NZ Coastal Commercial Shipping will mean either SOLAS lifejackets, or lifejackets approved to MNZ rules.
  • Offshore racing will mean lifejackets approved to MNZ and YNZ rules.
  • Aviation use will mean lifejackets approved to NZ CAArules.
  • Private sailing, boating or fishing will mean lifejackets approved to MNZ rule Part 91.

All of our lifejackets meet SOLAS and NZ CAA regulations, and exceed many of the MNZ and YNZ regulations.

Tips For Choosing A Lifejacket

The key questions to answer are:

  • Do I need a manual or automatic inflation?
  • Do I need to tether on to a strong point?

Some things to help make these decisions are:

  • I will be fishing, sailing, racing, or motoring?
  • I go out in calm, variable or bad conditions?
  • I am (not) confident in water?
  • I will probably (not) be unconscious if I fall in the water?
  • I have a health issue that may impair my actions?
  • I (do not) take good care of my equipment?

If you are not sure which options are going to be most suitable for your needs, please visit our premises or email us with your query. We are always happy to assist in matching the best lifejacket function to your use.

Once you have answered these basic questions, then the best piece of advice we can give you when purchasing a lifejacket is to try them on.

Try as many styles and brands as you can. We are all unique, and one style does not feel comfortable for all. Inflatable lifejackets are designed for you to be able to wear constantly – that means comfortable fit is one of the most important considerations when purchasing.



SOLAS standard lifejackets are usually distinguished by the wheelmark, and meet the regulations laid down by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

SOLAS Wheelmark

For details on the regulations, please refer to the appropriate version of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.

Chapter III details the Life-saving appliances and Regulation 32 details the lifejacket requirements.
Visit the IMO Website here.


CE-Norm (European Standards)

EN393 logo50N Buoyancy Aids – EN393

For practised swimmers at a short distance from the shore and near to possible help, not able to turn an unconscious person into a safe face-upwards, backwards inclined position.

EN395 logo

100N Lifejackets – EN395

For users in inland waters and in sheltered waters, only limited possibility of turning an unconscious person into the safe face-upwards, backwards inclined position.

EN396 logo

150N Lifejackets – EN396

For users in all waters. Able to turn an unconscious person into the safe face-upwards, backwards inclined position – however, limited effectiveness for wearers of heavy foul-weather clothing.

EN399 logo

275N Lifejackets – EN399

For users on high seas under extremely difficult conditions. In almost all cases turn unconscious wearers face-upwards in the water, even when they are wearing heavy foul-weather clothing.