Be safe when rock fishing

No one plans to get washed off the rocks when fishing, but it can – and does – happen.

There are four simple steps to make your rock fishing adventure a safe one.

Read below for more or click here to download a PDF factsheet.

1. Prepare

Safe rock fishing is easy, but it requires a bit of planning.

Always monitor the swell, tide and wind conditions for at least three days before heading out.

There are some great websites for this, including the Bureau of Meteorology.

Check your gear. All buckles, zippers and tapes on your lifejacket should be in good working order. If it is inflated by gas, check the cylinder.

Organise a friend or two to go with you. Rock fishing is better with a friend and if you get into trouble, there will be someone there to call 000 or go get help.

Work out an alternative plan in case you get there, and the conditions aren’t right. This might be another fishing spot, a different activity or simply going home.

2. Observe

Watch the ocean for 30 minutes before you start fishing. Look to see where the waves are breaking and what the tide and current is doing.

If the conditions aren’t safe, try another fishing spot or go home.

Check to see if you have a phone signal in case you need to call for help. If you have no signal, find the nearest spot where you can use your phone.

And plan your escape routes. These might be where you go if you see a large wave coming or a calmer spot where you could get out if you are washed in.

3. Stay alert

It’s important to keep checking weather updates while fishing. Use your phone or listen to the radio.

And always keep an eye out for changing conditions, swells and breaking waves.

It’s easy to take your eye off the water when you are fighting a fish, re-rigging, baiting up or just chatting with friends. One of the simplest things you can do to keep safe, is to face the water at all times.

4. Always wear a lifejacket

Whether you’re an experienced rock fisher or a beginner, always wear a lifejacket when rock fishing.

A properly fitted and maintained lifejacket will keep you afloat if you end up in the water and will significantly reduce your risk of drowning.

Remember, a lifejacket won’t help you unless you wear it and wear it with all the buckles and straps secured!

Fines apply if you fail to wear a lifejacket at any of the 10 high-risk sites.

Rock fishing also needs the right clothing. Wear cleated shoes or spikes to give you a better grip on the rocks and wear clothing you can easily swim in.