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Old4New ... The Lifejacket Upgrade campaign provides an easy and accessible way for people to check their lifejacket is up to scratch. Photo: Supplied

Boaties in Kaikoura and Kaiapoi will have the chance to get their lifejackets checked and upgraded thanks to the Coastguard’s Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade campaign.

The Old4New van will be heading to the South Bay Boat Ramp on Tuesday, January 8, from 8am to 11am, and then moves to the Waimakariri-Ashley Lifeboat Institution in Kaiapoi from 3pm-6pm.

The van has been on the road since December 1 visiting boat ramps and key spots, giving boaties the chance to bring in old or out-of-date lifejackets for a great discount on brand-new, quality Hutchwilco jackets.

“Lifejackets save lives, but old lifejackets are no good in an emergency,” Coastguard chief executive Patrick Holmes says.

“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.

“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.” Old4New community ambassador Sue Tucker agrees. “Each year we have people come to the Old4New van with lifejackets that are 30, 40 and even 50 years old. New Zealanders need 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 unsure about the quality of their lifejacket to head down to the Old4New van when its in their area.”

For those who aren’t able to come to the van retailer Boating and Outdoors is again supporting the initiative by offering the Old4New trade-in deal at its stores nationwide during some campaign weeks.