Lifesavers welcome lifejacket law proposal
SURF Life Saving NSW has welcomed the State Coroner's recommendations mandating the use of lifejackets or personal floatation devices by rock fishers.
The recommendation was made during the inquest this week into the deaths of nine rock fishermen who in recent years were swept or fell into the water and drowned.
Since 2010, 53 people have died while rock fishing in NSW, the leading cause of coastal drowning.
This inquest comes four years after Deputy State Coroner Buscombe stated that compulsory lifejackets for rock fishers should be considered and three years after a Surf Life Saving and Primary Industries report recommended mandatory lifejackets be legislated for rock fishers.
"Surf Life Saving NSW fully supports the recommendations delivered (this week) by the Coroner," said Surf Life Saving NSW's lifesaving manager Andy Kent.
"We welcome the opportunity to assist Police and Emergency Services, Department of Primary Industries and recreational fishing groups to work through these recommendations and how they can be implemented," Mr Kent said.
Surf lifesaving has tackled fishing safety with public education and issuing dangerous surf warnings through the media when hazardous conditions are forecast.
"Despite these efforts, surf lifesavers have become increasingly frustrated as the drowning toll continues to rise," Mr Kent said.