Whan says no to mandatory life jackets

After a tragic week that saw five rock fishers swept to their death and another missing after being washed off a Sydney rock ledge at the weekend, there have been more calls from rescue organisations for the mandatory wearing of lifejackets.

Tony Wood, crew chief of the Westpac rescue helicopter, has called for new laws making lifejackets compulsory for all involved in rock fishing.

”They can go under within minutes of going into the water,” he said. ”If they were wearing lifejackets, they would be alive and would be saved,” Wood told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Chinese national Qintao Wang 29, is the latest rock fisherman to be swept into the sea after climbing down to fish off rocks at North Bondi. It is believed Wang was a newcomer to rock fishing and had been down to the treacherous location once previously. He was reportedly fishing alone. A dangerous swell warning had been issued for the weekend in NSW by the Bureau of Meteorology.

The Minister for Primary Industries, Steve Whan, has put the emphasis on education rather than legislation in a bid to prevent further rock fishing related deaths. 

Whan said NSW ”is not a nanny state” and adds that while rock fishers won’t be forced to wear lifejackets, they should do so out of commonsense.

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