CALM BEFORE: Coffs Harbour South Wall looks safe for rock fishers here but big seas bring treacherous conditions.
CALM BEFORE: Coffs Harbour South Wall looks safe for rock fishers here but big seas bring treacherous conditions. Trevor Veale

Lifesavers welcome rock fishing announcement

SURF Life Saving's Steven Pearce has backed a NSW Government decision to allow coastal councils to make life jackets mandatory for rock fishers if they believe it will cut down on drownings.

The second stage of the Rock Fishing Safety Act was signed off in Macquarie Street on Friday morning following a trial in Randwick Local Government Area and the SLSNSW chief executive said it will increase safety aspects of a potentially dangerous activity.

"First responders see the devastating impact on families and communities when rock fishing accidents occur,” he said.

"In so many of these incidents a tragedy could well have been averted if the rock fisher had been wearing a simple flotation device and we support any initiative that will help make the sport safer”

In the past fortnight there have been two rock fishing tragedies in NSW waters bringing the total number of fatalities to seven and with less than three months of the season remaining.

Since August 2015 there have been 25 coastal drownings attributed directly to rock fishing, largely as a result of people either slipping off exposed platforms or being washed into the sea.

In almost all cases the fishers were not wearing a flotation device and the victims were overwhelmingly male.

Rock Fishing Safety Tips

Check the weather, surf conditions and tides before going fishing.

Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.

Always wear a life jacket.

Wear appropriate non-slip footwear and light clothing.

Always fish with a friend.

Check the warnings signs for information about the area.

Never turn your back to the water.

Do not try and retrieve anything that has fallen into the water.

Do not jump in if someone falls into the water but wait for assistance or throw an angel ring or lifebuoy if there is one nearby.

Boaters are urged to always check conditions prior and to log on with their local Marine Rescue Base via radio or using the MarineRescue App.

Call Triple Zero-Police (000) to report an in-water emergency.



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