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The tenth and largest Surf Life Saving NSW coastal rock fishing safety program, Gone Fishing, will be delivered at Bondi on Saturday 27 May, with support from the NSW Government Department of Primary Industries.

Nearly 500 people – close to double the attendance of the previous nine programs – are expected to converge on one of Sydney’s most iconic strips of sand with 250 participants and associated family members currently registered to learn about vital safety measures, skill-building and receive a free lifejacket in the process.

It is the final coastal workshop in the initial program funded by the NSW Recreational Fishing Fund, announced in July last year, targeting at-risk communities.

In NSW from July 2021 to June 2022, 11 people lost their lives while rock fishing. For the reporting year to date, encompassing 1 July 2022 to now, there have been five rock fishing related fatalities.

“Our focus for this day is to provide rock fishing safety education to at-risk communities,” SLSNSW Community Education Manager, Julia Kiss said.

“Workshop sessions are held in the morning and include the reviewing and wearing of correctly fitted lifejackets, safe and unsafe clothes and footwear, what to wear in different conditions, what to pack and not to pack when rock fishing and expert fishing tips.

“After lunch, participants do location-specific sessions to highlight the hazards, risks, conditions and unsafe fishing locations in the local area. They will learn about tides, swell, signage and different types of emergencies, how to handle them and how emergency services can respond if required.

“In these sessions, experts including experienced lifeguards, lifesavers, and local rock fishers will deliver vital information on what you can do to keep yourself safe while rock fishing.”

While participants will be moving through the various sessions, it’s set to be a true family day out as well with beach safety games with volunteer lifesavers, face painting and a circus play space to keep the kids entertained.

SLSNSW CEO, Steve Pearce said the day aims to equip rock fishers with the tools to safely visit the coastline and then return home to their families.

“Many people think Surf Life Saving is about volunteers on the beach and swimming between the red and yellow flags, but our educational reach extends so much further,” he said.

“We’re excited to be delivering these workshops, which we hope will have a positive impact on at-risk communities and our coastal drowning toll.”

“The day really highlights the significance and importance of improved drowning prevention and rock fishing education strategies within target communities,” Julia added.

Thursday 25 May 2023