Boaties have traded-in potentially dangerous lifejackets in exchange for new, modern versions, with the NSW Government’s pioneering Old4New program notching up around 26,000 new, safer jackets.

The Centre for Maritime Safety initiative encouraged people to trade in their old-style block lifejackets in exchange for significant discounts on the latest slimline models.

Member for Tweed, Geoff Provest said many of the lifejackets traded in were unusable to the point of being dangerous, with some containing waterlogged filling.

“These lifejackets were common decades ago but some of those handed in under the Old4New program would be lethal in an emergency situation,” Mr Provest said.

“The Old4New campaign is a key part of the Maritime Safety Plan which resulted in the number of boaties wearing lifejackets increasing from nine per cent ten years ago to more than 45 per cent today.”

Mr Provest said the campaign van has visited more than 650 sites across NSW in the past five years, encouraging use of lightweight modern lifejackets.

“The van sold the latest lightweight models at a subsidised price and buyers could get further discounts if they exchanged their old lifejackets,” Mr Provest said.

“The Old4New team has travelled 126,000 kilometres and has collected more than 24,000 old-style lifejackets since 2013, selling more than 26,000 of the latest models. Similar schemes have now been adopted in New Zealand and other Australian states.”

“Wearing a good quality, fit-for-purpose lifejacket never ruined a day out on the water.

“A lifejacket is no good to anyone if it’s stowed away, and even less so if it’s damaged or in a poor condition.

“Encouraging boaties to upgrade to these new, modern lifejackets will no doubt save lives on NSW waterways,” Mr Provest said.

Life jacket safety will be a focus at this year’s Sydney International Boat show.