Buoyancy Aids description

Check out Maritime NZ's lifejacket page for videos and pictures of the different types of lifejackets / vests / PFDs available.

Buoyancy Vests

Designed for ease of movement if you are involved in activities like kayaking, sailing and water skiing. While they meet the legal standard, they will not turn an unconscious person to a face-up floating position in the water.

Inflatable Life Jackets

Available in pull-to-inflate style or water activated. Suitable for all water recreational activities and are very comfortable to wear. A crotch strap is essential to prevent them slipping out, especially in children’s’ life jackets. The gas cylinder in inflatable life jackets needs to be inspected regularly for corrosion and fit.

Inshore Life Jackets

Designed to keep you afloat until help arrives. In rough water these jackets may ride up and a crotch strap is recommended, especially in children’s’ life jackets.

Offshore Life Jackets

With increased buoyancy, these will keep you in a safe floating position in rough, open water.

Only inflatable and offshore jackets are designed to turn an unconscious wearer face up in the water.

Rescue Buoys

Designed to help you stay afloat in the water, these include things like life buoys, life belts and buoyant cushions. They should be brightly coloured and fitted with a light, whistle or flag for marking position in the water.


These provide warmth and a level of buoyancy. They are not an approved alternative to life jackets, except for boardsailers and on dive boats within 5 miles of shore.