Hutchwilco life jackets: In 1894, John Hutcheson and Thomas Wilson established their company Hutcheson Wilson & Co Ltd on Jervois Quay, Wellington, New Zealand. It all started with a life preserver made of canvas and cork - State of the art for it's time - and definitely the jacket to wear during a rough Cook Straight crossing.
Between our first models and the life jackets we make now, Hutchwilco has done a lot of listening. By keeping in touch with the people who wear our jackets, we've been able to continuously improve our designs and develop new ones. Hutchwilco have enhanced manufacturing techniques, incorporated new materials and... they've been doing this for over 100 years. Today Hutchwilco still produce life jackets here in New Zealand. We have both Kids and adults sizes. If you cannot find a size that fits your child check the smaller adults sizes as sometimes kids will fit these better.

Guidelines for use

  • Once its adjusted to fit you perfectly, put your name on your Hutchwilco PFD. This way it wont get confused with anyone else’s.
  • Get to know your PFD – on dry land and in the water. Familiarize yourself with its features and how it performs in active duty.
  • Get into the habit of wearing your PFD. Statistics show that in approximately 80% of all boating fatalities, the victim wasn’t wearing a life jacket. In particular, non-swimmers and children should wear one at all times when on the water.
  • Remember that life jackets are far easier to put on before you get into the water.
  • Treat your PFD with respect. Don’t use it as a cushion, fender or kneeling pad.
  • Inspect your Hutchwilco PFD from time to time, to check for tears and damage that might impair its performance.
  • Don’t attempt to modify your PFD. A modified device is no longer Standards Approved or covered by warranty.

Guidelines for care

  • To clean, sponge with warm soapy water and dry thoroughly.
  • Don’t dry clean or use cleaning solvents.
  • Dry away from direct sunlight or other direct heat sources.
  • When not in use, store in a cool, well ventilated, dry location away from direct sunlight and harmful chemicals (such as battery acid).

PFD’s and children

  • It is important to teach children how to put on their PFD’s and explain what they are for.
  • Children should also be allowed to try them out in the water, so they’ll be familiar with how the jacket feels when its floating.
  • Parents must remember that a PFD is not a substitute for competent supervision.
  • Children are difficult to float in a face up position because of the distribution of body mass and because panic can cause them to attempt to ‘climb out’ of the water. While violent arm and leg movement can reduce the stability of the PFD, a properly designed and fitted one will keep the mouth and nose clear of the water.



You should refer to the marine authority in your area for accurate information about the number and type of PFDs required for various types of pleasure boats.


  • Ensure your PFD is a good fit and does not ride up in the water.
  • If it isn’t possible to wear your PFD at all times, store it in an easily accessible place.
  • When taking guests on board, ensure there are enough life jackets for everyone. Familiarise your guests with where they are kept and how they work.
  • In the event of a swamping or capsize, stay with your boat – it will be more easily found by rescuers.
  • The chilling effect of immersion in cold water for an extended period of time (hypothermia) can be fatal. Wearing a wetsuit or a woollen jumper next to your skin will help reduce the risk of hypothermia. Adopting a foetal position on the water also helps to slow the loss of body heat.
  • The effectiveness of your PFD may be reduced in rough or breaking seas and surf.

The Hutchwilco Warranty

This Hutchwilco Personal Flotation Device (PFD) is fully warranted against defects in material and workmanship. If you discover a manufacturing defect at any time after purchase please let us know and we will replace or repair the device free of charge.