Rock Fisher Drowns At Yamba

Despite the best efforts of emergency responders including police, paramedics, and surf lifesavers, a man drowned on Wednesday evening while rock fishing at Yamba on the state’s North Coast.

It is not clear how the man aged in his 30s and who was fishing alone near Turners Beach at dusk came to be in the water with the initial emergency call coming from a friend who concerned about his welfare had wandered up to the scene.

He was not wearing a lifejacket at the time.

Reports also emerged suggesting that the man’s friend jumped into the water in an effort to rescue the stricken fisherman.

The Yamba SLSC call out team was tasked to attend the incident by the Far North Coast Duty Officer and assisted in retrieving the man from the water.

Police and paramedics performed CPR on the man but all efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

The man’s death marks the fourth coastal drowning death in NSW waters since July.

NSW Lifesaving Manager Andy Kent said it was disappointing that another rock fisher had drowned while not wearing a lifejacket.

“There has been a lot of attention in recent weeks over the importance of wearing a lifejacket while rock fishing and it’s clear from all the data that if you do wear one then your chance of survival if things go awry dramatically increases.

“Last season there were 10 rock fishing related drownings in NSW waters and a common factors across all of these incidents was that no one was wearing a lifejacket,” Mr Kent said.

“With the NSW Government about to launch a 12 month trial in the Randwick Local Government Area of making lifejackets mandatory it is critical that all rock fishers regardless of where they live or fish are aware of this trial and subsequent results. As surf lifesavers we strongly encourage that all rock fishers wear lifejackets every time they fish.

“By not wearing them you are putting not only your own life at risk but those of the rescuers as well. Any drowning is a tragedy and has a lasting impact on family, friends, and the wider community,” Mr Kent concluded.

Investigations into the man’s death are continuing with a report to be prepared for the coroner.

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 for more information
• Call Triple Zero – Police to report an in-water emergency

Thu 17 Nov 2016