If you have a kayak and want to go fishing, the next thing you need is a personal floatation device. State laws vary somewhat but one thing is for sure, you need to be wearing a basic floatation device wherever you are fishing on your kayak. In NSW for example, the minimum requirement for kayaks is a 50S personal floatation device at all times, whether in open water or closed water.

Check out the NSW Maritime website here.

Level 50S lifejackets are the basic minimum. You can get a lot more protection from just about any decent PFD on the market. Remember, the best lifejacket is a comfortable lifejacket because you need to be wearing it all day. Nevertheless, some lifejackets are more work than others. Let’s take a look at the basic styles:


These are the most expensive and require the most maintenance. They do float until they hit the water. Most will inflate automatically when wet while having a backup manual inflatable method. Inflatable personal floatation devices are the easiest to wear and therefore the easiest to forget. You will also need to test them and replace cartridges once they have been inflated. Considering you are so low to the water on your kayak and you might even be getting in and out of the water, an inflatable lifejacket is not normally the best choice unless you are kayak fishing out on the open seas.


Permanently buoyant lifejackets are also known as block type lifejackets. These lifejackets have come a long way and are much more effective while being comfortable to wear all day while you are kayak fishing. Block type lifejackets are an excellent choice for kayak fishing and do not require any maintenance. Buy one and you know you are wearing safety all the time.


These are a mix of the two types and offer some flotation without being inflated. These are more expensive and still require maintenance.

Okay, with so many lifejackets out there how does one choose. We highly recommend a simple lifejacket that fits well. Once jacket that does the job without maintenance. Higher cost lifejackets are for boaties and not always necessary for kayak fishos. If you are fishing inland in estuaries, rivers and on lakes, here are some of our recommendations.


The Watersnake Nomad PFD Level 50 ensures comfort and a large range of movement, while being active on the water. The Watersnake Nomad PFD has been designed with wake-boarding, water-skiing, using ski-biscuits, canoeing and kayaking in mind.

The design is of multi-piece foam, front and back, with large arm holes, to facilitate free and easy body movement. The Watersnake Nomad PFD also come with adjustable straps to ensure perfect fit, safety and comfort. Hi-visibility tops off the design.

All Watersnake Nomad PFD‘s have been rigorously tested to ensure they comply with Australian and New Zealand Standards, AS4758.1


The Platinum range of Apollo Level 100 PFD’s offers high performance at an incredibly good price. The Platinum Apollo PFD’s have features normally only found in expensive models yet are still stringently made to conform with the Level 100 rating of the AS4758.1 standards. The outer cover material is a woven Nylon Oxford 420D fabric that is super strong and very resistant to abrasion.

The Platinum Apollo jackets are filled with a very soft EPE foam which will form to all body shapes and provide the user with a high level of buoyancy and comfort. The PFD’s are fitted with a central 8mm black synthetic open ended zipper made by YKK.

The belt is 38mm webbing and has an ITW twin tab synthetic buckle for quick and easy attachment or release. The high-resolution reflective material is made by 3M and is SOLAS approved and for a neat and comfortable fit, they have also added an elasticized waist. For the ultimate in safety all Platinum Apollo Child’s sizes are fitted with a grab strap and padded crotch strap and the entire size range is supplied with a safety whistle.

The Platinum Apollo range is available in a total of nine sizes: starting with the Child’s tiny tots XX-Small.


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Bill Matthews

Bill is as green friendly as they come. He's travelled the world, loves kayak fishing and camping.