Kiwi boaties across the country will have the opportunity to check and upgrade their lifejackets, thanks to Coastguard's Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade campaign back again this summer.
From December 1, the Old4New van will 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popular boat ramps and key locations all over the country, giving boaties the chance to bring in their old, damaged or out-of-date lifejackets for a great discount on brand-new, quality Hutchwilco lifejackets.
"Lifejackets save lives, but old lifejackets are no good in an emergency," says Coastguard CEO Patrick Holmes.
"Lifejackets that are over 10 years old should be replaced even if they look OK to the eye. Seawater, sun and general wear and tear impact how effective they are and many old lifejackets won't even float which is 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 will 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 can 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," says Mr. Holmes.
Sue Tucker, Old4New Community Ambassador agrees, "Each year we have people come to the Old4New van with lifejackets that are 30, 40 and even 50 years old, New Zealanders needs to be aware that lifejackets don't 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."
"The more old, damaged and dangerous lifejackets that are removed from the community the better," adds Mr Holmes.
"We encourage every boatie who is unsure about the quality of their lifejacket to head down to the Old4New van when it's in their area."
For those who aren't able to come to the Old4New van, retailer Boating and Outdoors are once again supporting the initiative by offering the Old4New trade in deal at their stores nationwide during specific weeks of the campaign.
Since the inception of Old4New, over 10,000 old or damaged lifejackets have been traded in and upgraded, meaning thousands of Kiwis are now safer out on the water.
The Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade is funded by Maritime New Zealand with support from the Southern Trust in partnership with Kiwi companies Hutchwilco and the Giltrap Group.
Where and when:
The Old4New van will be at Fish City, Hamilton Cnr Kahikatea Dr and Latham Court, on Monday 17 December 8am to 11am. Or upgrade at Fish City, Hamilton from Sunday December 16 to Sunday December 23.