What would you risk to catch a fish?
Isolated locations, slippery and uneven surfaces and the unpredictable nature of the ocean, makes rock fishing the most dangerous sport in Australia. In just eight years, between 1992 and 2000, 74 people drowned while rock fishing just in New South Wales and the numbers are consistently high right around the country.
Nowhere is perfectly safe for rock fishing but there are ways you can minimise its inherent risks. Always wear appropriate gear, including a personal flotation device (PFD), shoes with non-slip soles or cleats, especially on wet and weedy rocks, and lightweight clothing that won’t weigh you down if you do go in the water.
Only fish at renowned and easily accessible locations – and never fish alone. Spend at least half an hour watching the wind and wave action before deciding whether a place is suitable. Know how the changing tide and weather will affect the location and never, ever, turn your back on the ocean.
If you do find yourself in trouble, stay calm. Swim away from the rocks if you are washed in and look for a safe place to come ashore. If it is unsafe to do so, your PFD will keep you afloat while your fishing partners call emergency services (dial 000 or 112 on a mobile). Be sure to know your exact location to tell emergency services.
Rock fishing is extremely dangerous. Please make every effort to stay safe.