20 Jan 2019

Coastguard NZ trades old lifejackets for new

6:04 pm on 20 January 2019

More than 1200 unsafe old lifejackets - some up to half a century old - have been traded in for new ones under an innovative programme run by Coastguard New Zealand.

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Photo: Photo / 123RF

The "Old4New" programme is giving boaties the chance to dispose of old lifejackets and get fitted for modern, foam-filled replacements at a discounted price.

Since the programme started last month, the Old4New van has visited around 40 locations and still has 21 stops to go.

Coastguard spokesman Mike Buddle said modern lifejackets usually lasted about 10 years - but could become unsafe before that due to being soaked in seawater or exposed to sun damage.

"You can't put a price on your life really, if your life jacket is old it may have damage that you can't see, but like any safety item you should really keep it in tip-top condition."

The team have received jackets that are 30 to 50 years old, which was well past their use-by date.

Buddle said boaties can check their life jacket's condition by taking note of sun damage on the collar or the weight of the jacket.

In December alone, more than 1200 old, damaged or out-of-date lifejackets were traded in.

"That is 1200 lives that are safer in the water," Mr Buddle said.

The Old4New van is making its way up the South Island, stopping in Wellington on Monday before continuing up the country.

Find out when [www.old4new.nz the van is in your area.]