Recent Drownings Highlight Importance Of Lifejackets

Following the death of two more rock fishers in NSW waters over the last week, surf lifesavers have again issued an appeal to the rock fishing community to always wear a lifejacket when undertaking the popular pastime.

Last Wednesday a man aged in his 30s drowned while fishing at Yamba on the state’s north coast, while on Sunday a man thought to be in his 50s drowned at Cape Solander near Kurnell.

Police recovered a body late yesterday, believed to be that of the missing fisher. In both instances neither man was wearing a lifejacket.

Andy Kent, Acting Operations Manager at Surf Life Saving NSW said the two drownings were a concern for everyone in the lifesaving community.

“With these latest incidents the drowning toll of rock fishers over the last 18 months has now reached 12, and it is frustrating that the importance of wearing a lifejacket still doesn’t seem to be getting through,” Mr Kent said.

“The common factor in all these drowning deaths is that the victim wasn’t wearing a lifejacket at the time they ended up in the water. We will continue to push the message that lifejackets are the most important part of rock fishers’ equipment.

“By choosing not to wear a lifejacket rock fishers are putting not only themselves but also those asked to rescue them at risk,” he concluded.

Forecasters at the Bureau of Meteorology have also issued a warning for deceptively powerful surf conditions off the NSW Coast for Monday.

A long period swell of around 16 seconds has been forecast for much of the NSW coastline with rock fishers in particular urged to be aware of these deceptive conditions especially when accessing rock platforms.

These latest drownings come as the NSW Government prepares to enact legislation of a 12-month trial of compulsory lifejackets while rock fishing in the Randwick Area; a location that has been identified as one of the most dangerous rock fishing locations in NSW.

General 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 lifejacket
• 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 - wait for assistance or throw an ‘Angel Ring’ or Lifebuoy if there is one nearby
• Additionally 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 see Marine Rescue NSW for more information
• Call Triple Zero – Police to report an in-water emergency

Mon 21 Nov 2016