Report recommends mandatory lifejackets for rock fishers

THE NSW Deputy Coroner has today recommended the mandatory wearing of lifejackets by rock fishers in the state, following findings related to several recent rock fishing related drownings. 

In announcing the findings, Deputy State Coroner Forbes recommended the “introduction of legislation requiring the mandatory use of life jackets by those engaged in rock fishing.”

The Coroner also stipulated any requirements for the wearing of lifejackets by rock fishers could be subject to a 12 month grace period.

Lifejackets used for the purspose of rock fishing too would have to comply with Australian Standards, and the legislation would be introduced with a dedicated education campaign.

The Coroner’s findings outlined the consideration of “initiatives to facilitate the wearing of appropriate life jackets such as coupons or gift vouchers for free or subsidised life jackets or life jacket borrowing scheems for those engaged in rock fishing.”

Read the Coroner’s findings in full here.

The Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW (RFA), the representative body for the state’s rec fishers, has welcomed Deputy State Coroner Forbes’ report.

The RFA of NSW says it now awaits the NSW Government’s response to the Coroner’s report and any indications of when and how it might act on the recommendations.

In anticipating the handing down of the Coroner’s findings, the RFA of NSW had stated in a media release: “rock fishers must have the ability to choose between a range of suitable personal safety buoyancy aids, that are appropriately designed and fit for purpose, are comfortable to wear or use whilst rock fishing on any day or during any season.

A buoyancy aid like a wetsuit, fishing buoyancy vest, or an approved Australian Standard life jacket all have the ability to keep a person afloat, allowing them to swim to safety, or wait and be rescued, providing someone has witnessed the incident, or called 000 for assistance.”

The RFA’s President and Chairman, Stan Konstantaras said the “RFA will continue to work with our project partners the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust, NSWDPI – Fisheries, Surf Life Saving NSW, various multicultural community groups, and local Councils to increase the publics level of water safety knowledge and awareness, making sure they stay safe when at any beach, fishing or walking on any rock platform, or near any other body of water.”

The RFA estimates there are 65-100,000 fishers of all ages and backgrounds who go rock fishing each year.

To reduce the number of coastal drownings the organisation advises rec fishers to assess conditions before going fishing, stay alert to changing conditions when fishing, never turn your back on the ocean, wear light hi-visibility clothing and proper footwear for the rocks, and have appropriately designed and affordable buoyancy aids or life jackets.

For information (language translated) on rock fishing safety or RFA’s work visit,, or

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