New PFD Standard introduced in July


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Australian Standard for PFDs now rates “level” rather than “type”

New PFD Standard introduced in July
New PFD Standard introduced in July

The new Australian Standard governing classes of Personal Flotation Device (PFD), AS 4758, was accepted by all marine safety authorities as of July 1 this year, and — according to the National Maritime Safety Committee (NMSC) — is more closely aligned with international standards.

According to the NMSC’s CEO, Margie O’Tarpey, AS 4758 features a couple of important distinctions. "The new standard identifies PFDs for different uses according to ‘Levels’ rather than ‘Types’, and the new Level 150 PFD has increased performance characteristics compared to most PFD Type 1s," she said.

The new PFDs will be categorised as follows: Level 150 is a new level of PFD suitable for offshore use; Level 100 is similar to PFD Type 1 and is the minimum requirement for offshore use; Level 50 is similar to PFD Type 2; and Level 50S (Special Purpose) is similar to PFD Type 3.

The NMSC says the new standard should have a minimal impact on PFD retailers, who can continue to sell PFDs made to the older standards. "In the majority of cases, boaters won’t need to replace their existing PFDs as long as they are in a serviceable condition," O’Tarpey said. "However, some marine agencies have applied limits to accepting older PFDs based on where they were manufactured, so, if unsure, boaters should check with their local marine safety authority," she added.

Visit www.nmsc.gov.au for more information.

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