AUSTRALIAN surf life savers will soon be required to wear life jackets on rescue boats - a law that was adopted by Tasmania more than a decade ago.
Surf Life Saving Australia said life jackets will be mandatory on rescue boats at surf meetings and on patrols from October 2014, while all surf boat rowers and sweeps will have to wear helmets from January 2014.
In 2001, Tasmania became one of the first jurisdictions in the world to make the wearing of life jackets compulsory in power boats shorter than six metres.
Surf Life Saving Tasmania general manager Tony van den Enden said surf boat rowers and sweeps were also coached to wear helmets as the conditions warranted.
"Obviously, the safety of our members is paramount," he said.
"Life jackets on rescue craft is something we've had in place since the early 2000s.
"With the helmets, our members know if the waves are breaking or cresting it's usually a sign that they are needed."
The national safety changes come after 14-year-old Matthew Barclay drowned in March last year at the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships.
He had been competing in an under-15 board event at the Gold Coast's Kurrawa Beach.
In 2010, 19-year-old Saxon Bird died during the same carnival at the same beach.