Follow these rock fishing safety tips from the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard team to rockfish responsibly.
There is more than 2km of rocky coastline in Sutherland Shire and the foreshore has become a popular rock fishing location for locals and visiting anglers.
Rock fishing can be an extremely dangerous sport and you might now know it is one of the top causes of coastal drownings in Australia. Anglers run the risk of slipping on rocks and being washed or swept into the ocean by strong winds or high tides. Often fishing spots are a long way from a lifesaving service if help is required, so if you want to cast a line you MUST be well prepared.
Rock fishing is a dangerous pastime. The Sutherland Shire coastline is rockfishing Blackspot and one of the MOST dangerous rock fishing areas in Australia. In recent years there have been close to 10 recorded rock fishing fatalities in the Sutherland Shire Council LG Area.
No matter what your skill level or experience we plead you to always wear a life jacket whilst rock fishing.
Staying safe when rock fishing
Follow these simple steps to be a responsible rock fisher.
Always wear a life jacket AS4758 Approved - Under the Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016 it is mandatory that an inflatable lifejacket is worn at all times when rock fishing and fines apply if you’re caught without it on.
Wear non-slip footwear and easy to swim in clothing - Anglers also need to wear appropriate non-slip footwear - spiked boots or cleats are vital, and light clothing that’s easy to swim in if you happen to fall in.
Stay weather alert - Before heading out, check on the weather and surf conditions and ensure you are aware of when high and low tides will occur. Accurate weather information is easy to access and it’s important to stay alert to changing conditions. A long period swell can be especially deceptive as it looks calm for a long time before large and dangerous waves crash ashore.
Never jump in if someone is washed in - throw in a floatation device to assist the swimmer until help arrives and in case of an emergency call 000 for help!
Never Fish Alone - Always fish with a buddy, getting washed in is a terrible experience but imagine if you were in the water and there was no one around to help.
Plan an escape route in case you are washed in - Before you start fishing, evaluate your chosen location to find if there are any “escape routes” available. This might be a location which you can safely and easily swim towards, or a higher ledge or platform you can quickly access should a wave inundate your fishing position.
Never turn your back on the ocean - Once you’re happy it’s safe you can head to the rocks, but remember never turn your back on the ocean. Always keep an eye on the ocean and your surroundings.
Carefully assess the conditions - When you reach your fishing spot spend at least 20min assessing the conditions from a higher vantage point. Plan an escape route before you start fishing, this includes locating higher ground and understanding where you could safely swim if you need to get out.
More rock fishing information can be found at:
Sutherland Shire High Risk rock fishing locations
Anyone rock fishing in a declared location must wear an appropriate lifejacket. This includes people helping you to rock fish and children. As a general rule, if you are fishing from rocks exposed to ocean swell in a declared area, then you will need to wear a lifejacket. It is safest to wear a lifejacket whenever and wherever you are rock fishing. Sutherland Shire Councils Local government area is a high risk declared area. The Map can be found below.
SLSA Coastal Safety Brief 2020 - Rock Fishing
This report includes both coastal drowning deaths and other fatalities as a result of rock
Fishing. Since 2004, 185 drowning deaths and 7 other rock fishing fatalities (a total of 192 fatalities) have been recorded nationally, averaging 13 deaths each year and a mortality rate. The full report can be found below.
Rock fishing safety tips factsheet
Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016 factsheet
Rock fishing resources
South Sydney Water safety Directory
The South East Sydney Multicultural Water Safety Committee has compiled this directory of aquatic services and water safety resources to provide information for service providers and community groups to assist with improving water safety on our beaches and waterways.
Based on the successful model implemented by the Illawarra Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Water Safety Committee, we aim to create a collaborative environment to encourage effective communication between multicultural services and aquatic service providers. In this way, we hope to ensure water safety initiatives are responsive to the needs and assets of the regions culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Join us to increase awareness and education by exploring, developing and delivering water safety initiatives at our beaches, waterways and other aquatic environments.
Enquiries can be directed to Cameron Pyett on 85222100 or firstname.lastname@example.org