Lifejacket rules keeping Victorian rock fishers safe

29 February 2024

The Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) has completed a two-year trial to make lifejackets mandatory at high-risk rock fishing locations to ensure the safety of more recreational fishers across Victoria.

VFA Chief Executive Officer Travis Dowling today announced the trial results will be evaluated to determine longer-term arrangements, with the lifejacket mandate still in effect in designated high-risk zones whilst the evaluation is being conducted.

The trial mandated the use of compliant lifejackets – level 50S or greater – for adults fishing at the designated high-risk zones, with children under 12 required to wear a level 100 or greater lifejacket whether they are fishing or not.

The VFA has identified four new locations as high-risk zones where lifejackets will now be mandatory while the trial evaluation is taking place - Jump Rock near Lorne and Phillip Island’s Sunderland Bay, Kitty Miller Bay and Cowries Rock Platform.

All rock platforms along a more than 40-kilometre stretch of coastline between Point Nepean and West Head near Flinders will be deemed high-risk and fishers must wear a lifejacket.  This includes rock platforms at Fingal Beach, where a fatality occurred in November 2023.

High-risk zones at Punchbowl Rocks and Potters Hill Road, near San Remo, will be extended to include all rock platforms between Bore Beach and Kilcunda.

Existing zones at Pyramid Rocks on Phillip Island, Artillery Rocks (west of Lorne), Sheoak Falls (south of Lorne) and Cape Bridgewater (near the blowholes car park), remain classified as high risk, with fishers requiring a compliant lifejacket.

Educational material is available in several languages detailing high-risk locations, types of compliant lifejackets and how rock fishers can stay safe. This information and signage at beach tracks will be amended to include the new zones.

Quotes attributable to Victorian Fisheries Authority CEO Travis Dowling

“We know lifejackets save lives and we urge rock fishers to wear one no matter where they are right along the coast because no snapper is worth your life.”

“The new and extended zones have been identified through the two-year trial and will be added to the high-risk locations, meaning these important rules remain in place while we review the data and consider preventative measures.”

To find out more and view maps of the high-risk zones, visit