Evaluating personal flotation devices.

"They needed to comply with updated maritime / waterborne safety standards."

  • We assessed whether potential personal flotation devices were fit for purpose and complied with safety standards.
  • We used the test methods in ISO 12402-9, and functional and integration assessments.
  • We recommended one product that met the NZDF’s needs.

In 2013 the NZDF reviewed all life jackets or personal flotation devices that were being used by the Defence Force. This review identified that they needed to comply with updated maritime / waterbourne safety standards, which resulted in a project to replace and rationalise many of the then in-service flotation devices.

The Defence Technology Agency (DTA) was engaged on the project. We conducted evaluations of personal flotation devices to assess whether they were fit for purpose. We also helped to assess the flotation devices available at the time and recommended a single product that met NZDF requirements.

We tested the products by conducting equipment trials relevant to both Maritime and Land operator roles to assess in-water performance. We used test methods specified in the International Standard ISO 12402-9 and a series of functional and integration assessments.

Through the results of these trials we were able to recommend a preferred product and a number of minor design changes to optimise the final product for NZDF use.