Don't put your life on the line! Better yet, keep the sand between your toes and stay off the rocks.
We believe everyone in WA should return home safe after spending a day out fishing. At Recfishwest, our service to the community is to lead a statewide approach that develops and promotes initiatives that bring fishers home safe.
Our Fish and Survive program involves us working with community and government partners work hard to educate fishers through the provision of quality safety information aimed at changing behaviour. This information allows people to make better decisions. Education is supported with improved access to fishing safety equipment such as Angel Rings (Life Rings), Rock Anchor Points (Rock Bolts) and free-loan slimline lifejackets at high risk locations.
Rock fishing safety is a state-wide issue, with incidents having occurred along the coast of Western Australia.
With WA's unpredictable coastline it is important to consider the following:
Tell someone your plans
It is always a good idea to let a responsible person know where you will be fishing and what time you plan on returning. Also never fish alone, fishing with a friend or family will allow you look out for each other and help each other in an emergency, it's also great fun!
Know the conditions
Make sure you are aware of the local weather, swell and tidal conditions before going fishing. Once at a fishing location and take some time to observe the current conditions, they may be different to those predicted or may be changing.
For more on conditions, see bom.gov.au
Wear shoes with non-slip soles to prevent slipping on wet rocks. Wear light shoes that will not weigh you down in water. Steel-cap work boots may provide good grip and protection to your feet but will weigh you down if you fall in.
Wear a lifejacket
Recfishwest runs the Free Loan Lifejacket Scheme, where local outlets loan Lifejackets free of charge to the public. There are currently 23 locations around WA ranging from Esperance to Quobba.
Compact and comfortable to wear, the Crewsaver Crewfit 165 Life jacket is our recommendation for rock fishers.
For more information on free lifejacket loan locations, click here.
Try to wear light clothing; this will make it easier to swim if you are washed in. Jumpers and thick cotton clothing become very heavy when wet, impeding swimming and can be difficult to take off quickly.
Check out the Dixon Brothers on Facebook who have recently featured on iFish TV, showing how you can fish safely from the rocks.
Know how to swim
There are many situations where as a fisher you might be required to swim during the course of your fishing activities; either for recreation or in an emergency. If you fish, you should know how to swim for your own safety. If you are a poor swimmer it is best to wear a Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) and have an experienced swimmer with you at all times.
Keep clear of the black rock at all times. The constant fresh and salt water on the rocks cause black algae that cover the surface making it dangerously slippery. If there are rock anchor points drilled into the rocks, make sure you tie yourself onto them using suitable rope and a harness.
Before you go fishing, check out the SharkSmartWA app or Sharksmart website to stay up to date with current alerts, warnings and the latest reported sightings. The app and website provides beach users with near ‘real time’ information on shark activity, including current alerts and warnings issued by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, as well as access to Surf Life Saving WA’s beach safety information. Remember the map shows available information – not all sharks are tagged, or sightings reported, so be Sharksmart when using the water.
Please report all shark sightings directly to the Water Police on 9442 8600. This number is staffed 24 hours, seven days a week and will activate any required response. Before you go fishing, check
BEN (Beach Emergency Numbers) signs:
In an emergency situation, please dial 000 and quote the unique code and location information on the nearest BEN sign. These signs are primarily located at beach access points and use a coding system which helps to improve emergency response times when deployed in the event of a shark sighting, attack or other beach emergencies. More information can be found be clicking here.