Lives are being saved in Papua New Guinea as a result of the NSW Government’s life jacket scheme – Old4New that is seeing traded-in lifejackets sent to the country to help increase maritime safety.

Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said the initiative encourages people to trade in their old-style block lifejackets in exchange for significant discounts on the latest slim-line models.

“These traded-in lifejackets are still in excellent condition and fully meet Australian safety standards,” said Mrs Pavey.

“Last year was the lowest recorded fatalities in boating deaths for the last 40 years.

“We know the Old4New program is helping to make boating safer in NSW and are delighted it is also now doing the same in Papua New Guinea.”

The Old4New team have collected around 23,000 old-style lifejackets since 2013, selling more than 19,000 of the latest models.

The Old4New campaign is a key part of the Maritime Safety Plan which has seen lifejacket wear rates increase from nine per cent ten years ago to more than 45 per cent.

The campaign van has visited more than 610 sites across NSW in the last five years, encouraging use of lightweight modern lifejackets.

The van sells the latest lightweight models at a subsidized price and buyers can get further discounts if they exchange their old lifejackets.

“Wearing a lifejacket is by far the most effective way to prevent drowning while boating, and with modern designs, lifejackets are less bulky and more comfortable to wear so there’s no good reason for not chucking one on,” Mrs Pavey said.

The Old4New exchange is part of a wider the NSW Government  program which has helped support an increase in lifejacket wear rates and achieved a decrease in boating fatalities state-wide.