We are regularly asked by customers if life jackets are compulsory on a boat. The answer lies somewhat in the middle, as it is not compulsory to wear one, but it is necessary to carry a life jacket for every person on board.
A life jacket can help you stay afloat if you go overboard. However, it cannot prevent drowning. If you put on a life jacket, it is therefore useful if you can also swim well.
When is a life jacket mandatory?
When a life jacket is mandatory depends on a number of things. For example, it depends on whether you are going sailing or doing another water activity. During surfing, canoeing, surfing or other water sports, a life jacket is not mandatory. However, it can help to prevent accidents, since it keeps you afloat better in any case.
In the Netherlands, it is only compulsory to have a life jacket available for every person on board. In the event of an emergency, everyone can put on their life jacket and stay afloat until help arrives. For children, we recommend that they still purchase a life jacket.
In addition, in some countries it may be compulsory to wear a life jacket on the boat or in certain waters. Always ask your travel agent or the organisation where you booked your trip about this.
Lifejacket compulsory on boat in the Netherlands
As you may know by now, it is not compulsory to wear a life jacket on a boat. However, it is compulsory to have life jackets for all those on board. Should an emergency situation arise where everyone must leave the boat? Then you better have a life jacket.
- If the water is cold, cramps can set in and it is difficult to stay above water without a life jacket. So either find a suitable life jacket for all those on board or tell them to bring their own. Take a look at our range and find the one that suits your personal needs.
What about children?
There is also no life jacket obligation for children in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, we strongly recommend that you put on life jackets for your children when you take them on the boat. Even better, it is wise to put on a life jacket. A life jacket does not prevent drowning and you need to be able to swim well for it.
In this case, we think it is better to have a life jacket, as there is little or no risk of drowning. The life jackets can be recognised by their large collar. This collar ensures that you lie on your back and your head remains above water. This keeps your airways free and you can continue to breathe even when you are unconscious.
Is a life jacket mandatory?
In the Netherlands, there is no obligation to wear a life jacket for people on board, but there is for the driver of the boat. On fast motorboats (boats that can sail faster than 20 km/h), it is compulsory for the driver to wear a life jacket when steering the boat from a standing position. Moreover, this only applies when you are outside steering.
Are you steering inside or outside? Then there is no obligation for a life jacket, but it is still advisable. Furthermore, it is compulsory for the driver to be attached to the deadman's cord. This is a cord that the driver puts around his wrist and prevents the boat from continuing its journey if the driver falls overboard.
On fast motorboats, it is also compulsory to have a life jacket available for all persons on board. These are life jackets with a minimum buoyancy of 100N (Newton), so no life jacket with a buoyancy of 50N.
Different types of lifejackets and lifehouses
Nowadays, there are many different types of lifejackets and lifecoats. It is therefore good to know what to look out for when selecting them. Consider in advance what you want to use the jacket for and base your choice on that.
The different types of lifejackets cannot necessarily be distinguished from each other, as they are mainly designed for adults and children. For adults, there are life jackets with a buoyancy of 50N made of various materials, including neoprene and nylon. For children, on the other hand, there are also inflatable life jackets, but we still recommend a neoprene or nylon one.
There are different types of lifejackets. There are the well-known solid lifejackets and the automatic lifejackets. A solid jacket is a jacket with a large collar made of foam. This keeps you afloat on the surface of the water and tipped over onto your back.
With automatic lifejackets, too, you are tipped over onto your back and remain floating on the surface of the water. However, instead of foam, there is air in the vest. The air is only released when the salt tablet comes into contact with the water, after which the firing pin opens the CO2 cartridge and the vest inflates itself. With an automatic lifejacket, you therefore have more freedom of movement on the boat.
What do you need to consider?
So there is no obligation to wear a life jacket, but it is still wise to take one with you. On a fast motorboat you are even obliged to carry a life jacket (with a buoyancy of 100N) for all persons on board. It is therefore good to know what to look out for when buying one.
Always ensure that the vest fits well and has the right buoyancy for your weight. Lifejackets are available in 100N, 150N and 275N versions. The latter are mainly used in the open sea.
For children, it is of course also essential to have a good life jacket. Therefore, regularly check the weight and whether the jacket is still made for it. To check whether the size is still suitable, lift your child carefully by the life jacket. If the chin does not slide through the opening of the jacket, it is still OK.
Need a life jacket or life preserver?
If you are still looking for a life jacket or life preserver for your next boating trip, then take a look at our wide range on this page. Here you will find various models in different sizes, colours, styles and buoyancy capacities, so there is something for everyone.
Can't quite work it out yourself or not sure what to look out for? Do not hesitate to contact our customer service by calling, emailing or using the live chat. We are happy to help you find the right water sports articles.