LIFE SAVING: John Saunders models the new look, light weight life jackets.
LIFE SAVING: John Saunders models the new look, light weight life jackets. Contributed

Old jackets are old hat, get into new

WEARING a life jacket never ruined a day on the water.

This is the message the Old 4 New life jacket van is sending to boaters.

The van, which will be travelling up and down the coast, is a NSW Government initiative developed to encourage boaters to upgrade their old life jackets to a newer model that is more comfortable to wear.

John Saunders and his Old 4 New crew were in Ballina on Friday afternoon and were inundated with boaters looking to upgrade their jackets by swapping their old ones or buying the new stream lined jacket.

"The Old 4 New campaign promotes safety for those using boats under 4.8 metres," Mr Saunders said.

"With 90% of deaths in smaller vessels, we really want every boater in a smaller boat to have a life jacket that they will wear, rather than one that's too uncomfortable."

Mr Saunders and his team will be visiting 100 boat ramps in NSW over the next four months as part of the campaign to show boaters life jackets have moved with the times and don't have to be obtrusive or uncomfortable to wear.

"These new life jackets automatically inflate when you're in the water," Mr Saunders said.

"So, if you've hit your head and fallen out of the boat they could save your life."

NSW Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay said the life jacket van is believed to be the first initiative of its kind in the country.

"We're talking to boaters just as they're about to get on the water, giving them the opportunity to exchange their old lifejackets - for a discount off new ones," Mr Gay said.

"People need to make putting on a lifejacket a habit, a bit like putting on sunscreen, because one day it might just save your life."

The new life jackets are $85 without a trade-in, or $25 with a trade-in.

For more information about the Old 4 New life jacket initiative visit lifejacketwearit.com.au.



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