Rockfishers warned to be more vigilant

FOLLOWING a spate of recent drownings, the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW is once again urging rock fishers to be more vigilant and aware of their surroundings.

A few weeks ago a rock fisherman appears to have been washed to his death along a notorious stretch of Central Coast coastline that has claimed more than 10 lives. The alarm was raised by the man’s family when he failed to return home that night. His car was found near the popular fishing spot at Wybung Head before the Hunter Westpac rescue helicopter was sent to search the sea. The man’s body was discovered the following morning washed up on Hargraves Beach, south of Wybung Head and just north of Norah Head.

Two weeks ago a rock fisherman drowned after being swept off rocks at Cape Banks in Sydney’s southeast. The man, believed to be in his early 30s, was fishing off a rock shelf at La Perouse when he was swept into the ocean. Despite being found by rescue helicopter workers, the man was unable to be resuscitated and died at the scene.

Last week another angler, a Taiwanese tourist, drowned while fishing at Fishermans Beach near Port Kembla.

These tragic events have highlighted the following: the first man was fishing alone and no one noticed him missing until it was too late; the second man was a first-time visitor to the area and a novice from all accounts. The Taiwanese visitor who had travelled down from Sydney wasn’t wearing a PFD.

The RFA says more care and vigilance needs to be taken by anglers to ensure that they are fishing safely and responsibly. 

The RFA is also looking for people to help out with the education of novice anglers – people who would like to be involved in safety workshops as mentors, distribute safety materials and teach basic rockfishing safety.

Stan Konstantaras of the RFA says “Rockfishing safety really is something that we can manage and get on top of. It just needs a big team of responsible anglers out there to get behind it and get the message out.”

Some basic safety tips:
1. Read the weather forecasts and heed any warnings issued.
2. Make a careful judgement as to whether your fishing spot is safe, taking into account the swell
direction, the tide height, the strength of the wind and the height and orientation of the rock platform.
3. Decide what sort of footwear is needed to keep you from being swept off your feet.
4. Choose appropriate clothing for the day, including a life jacket.
5. Try not to fish alone.
6. If in doubt, get out!

Visit the RFA of NSW website HERE

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