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The NSW Government’s Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016 came into effect on Thursday with the lifesaving community welcoming the initiative as a positive step towards decreasing fatalities in one of Australia’s most hazardous recreational activities.

Under the terms of the Act, all rock fishers and those assisting them in the Randwick Local Government Area must now wear a lifejacket while fishing from a rock platform.

Sanctioned law enforcement officers including NSW Police, the Department of Primary Industries, the Department of Fisheries, and local council officers will be monitoring fishers for compliance, however the first 12 months will be about educating the public, and there will be a year’s grace period on fines.

The death of two rock fishers in NSW waters last month brought the dangers of this sport into sharp focus. There have now been 12 deaths in NSW waters in the last 18 months with the common factor across all these incidents being that no victims were wearing a lifejacket.

Acting NSW Operations Manager Andy Kent has welcomed the introduction of the Act.

“Wearing a lifejacket increases your chance of survival if you do end up in the water and as lifesavers we strongly encourage rock fishers to consider lifejackets an essential piece of fishing equipment.

“If you choose to not wear one you’re putting not only yourself but also rescuers at risk. Any drowning is a tragedy but preventable ones are a source of great frustration to lifesavers,” Mr Kent said.

Although the 12 month trial is at this stage restricted to the Randwick LGA, Andy Kent has urged the entire rock fishing community to embrace wearing lifejackets regardless of where they fish.

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. Visit for more information

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


Friday 2 December 2016