Boaties across the Bay of Plenty will have the opportunity to check and upgrade their lifejackets as Coastguard's Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade campaign is back this summer.

From December 1, the Old4New van would visit popular boat ramps and key locations all over the country, giving boaties the chance to bring in their old, damaged or out-of-date lifejackets a discount on brand-new, quality Hutchwilco lifejackets.

Since the inception of Old4New, more than 10,000 old or damaged lifejackets had been traded in and upgraded, meaning thousands of Kiwis were now safer out on the water.

Coastguard chief executive Patrick Holmes said lifejackets that were over 10 years old should be replaced, even if they looked okay.

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"Lifejackets save lives, but old lifejackets are no good in an emergency," Holmes said.

He said seawater, sun and general wear and tear impact how effective lifejackets were and many old lifejackets would not even float which was a serious concern in an emergency.

"Worryingly, many people are also still using lifejackets filled with kapok – a fluffy plant fibre similar to cotton which can absorb water. These lifejackets are extremely dangerous so if you have one, destroy it immediately and replace it with a new, modern one."

This year the Old4New van would reach a number of new locations, including the Taranaki region and Haast, Franz Josef and Hokitika on the west coast of the South Island, meaning even more Kiwis could check their lifejackets and stay safe on the water.

"The Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade campaign provides an easy and accessible way for people to check their lifejacket is up to scratch, and replace them if they aren't," Holmes said.

Old4New community ambassador, Sue Tucker, said each year people would come to the Old4New van with lifejackets that were 30, 40 and even 50-years-old and New Zealanders needed to be aware that lifejackets did last a lifetime.

"Lifejackets, including inflatable versions, need to be checked each year. If you're in any doubt as to how to check your lifejacket, visit the Old4new van and we'll show you exactly what you need to do and look out for," she said.

Old4New campaign

-For those who could not visit the Old4New van, retailer Boating and Outdoors were offering the Old4New trade-in deal at their stores nationwide during specific weeks of the campaign.
-The Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade was delivered with generous funding from Maritime New Zealand and support from the Southern Trust in partnership with Kiwi companies Hutchwilco and the Giltrap Group.
-For a full location schedule visit www.old4new.nz or contact Coastguard on 0800 BOATIE (262 843