Going fishing this weekend? Stay safe, say authorities

POLICE, surf lifesavers and meteorologists have teamed up to urge rock anglers to make safety their priority this weekend.

THE NSW Police Force, Surf Life Saving NSW and the Bureau of Meteorology have teamed up to urge rock angles to make safety their priority this Easter long weekend.

The agencies have been working together to better understand weather and wave conditions which lead to fatalities along the NSW coastline, and develop strategies to target high-risk water activities, especially rock fishing.

NSW Police's Special Services Group Commander, Assistant Commissioner Mal Lanyon, said the Easter long weekend is traditionally a busy time along the coast, especially with rock and beach anglers.

"We are expecting to see lots of anglers out this weekend, and while the current weather predictions are suitable, it can change at any moment," Assistant Commissioner Lanyon said.

"Rock fishing can be risky in any conditions but even on a calm day, the most important piece of equipment for an angler is a life jacket.

"I urge anyone planning to head out onto the rocks to heed our advice - we aren't trying to spoil anyone's fun, we are trying to save your life," Assistant Commissioner Lanyon said.

The Bureau of Meteorology has developed, in consultation with industry stakeholders, a forecast service where statements highlighting the risks to rock fishing are now included in forecasts for hazardous surf conditions in NSW.

Bureau of Meteorology National Manager of Marine Weather Services, Mr Neal Moodie, said checking the Bureau of Meteorology's website for the latest conditions is critical for rock fishing safety.

"Conditions on the water can change quickly and with the variable nature of wind strength and wave height, rock fishing can quickly become hazardous," Mr Moodie said.

"The Bureau includes safety messages into its forecasts when hazardous surf conditions are expected along the New South Wales coast, and it is important that people take note and change their rock fishing plans to avoid taking unnecessary risks."

To check the weather and conditions before rock fishing, visit: www.bom.gov.au/marine/about/check-rock-fishing.shtml


Rock anglers are urged to follow these safety tips when they venture out:

  • Always wear a life jacket
  • Make enquiries and check weather and conditions before you leave home
  • Observe first/fish later: watch your intended fishing spot to get an idea of the conditions over a full swell/wave cycle
  • Carry safety gear; head protection, as well as a float and line to help anyone else who might be washed into the water.
  • Never fish by yourself and always stand within sight of each other
  • Make sure you let family and friends know where you are going and when you'll be back
  • Carry a mobile phone
  • Never fish in exposed areas during rough or large seas and be aware that conditions may change dramatically in a short period of time
  • Stay alert. Never turn your back on the sea
  • If waves, the weather or swell threaten your fishing spot, leave immediately
  • If in doubt, don't go out
  • In the event of an emergency, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

Further safety information can be found at: www.safefishing.com.au and www.beachsafe.org.au.

Multilingual rock fishing safety brochures can be downloaded from the website: www.safewaters.nsw.gov.au/fishing.htm